October 22, 2021

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Researchers Develop 3D-Printed Wearables That Don’t Require Charging



In recent years, wearable tech that can track your sleep, count your steps, monitor heart rate, and even check for oxygen levels has become more popular. wearables have gained a lot of traction in the mainstream.

With the popularity of the Apple Watch, most smartphone companies are getting in on the action, and wearables have become feature-rich and affordable.

Yet, most of these devices are clunky to wear (especially during sleep) and have tiny batteries – meaning they barely last a full day.

Now, a new technique, developed by researchers at the University of Arizona promises to fix the gripes of existing wearables. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers have outlined their innovation called the “biosymbiotic device”.

The device was entirely 3D-printed, and is wireless, personalized based on the body scans of the wearer, and most importantly doesn’t need to be charged.

“There’s nothing like this out there,” said Phillip Gutruf, lead author of the paper, and a member of the university’s BIO5 Institute. “We introduce a completely new concept of tailoring a device directly to a person and using wireless power casting to allow the device to operate 24/7 without ever needing to recharge.”

The device is made out of lightweight, breathable material, and by using body scans of the wearer, the device can be custom fitted and will be virtually unnoticeable. Usually placed around the bicep or the torso, the placement allows the device to make measurements that traditional wearables cannot.

The device is built to be medical-grade and can accurately measure body temperature, the strain on the body while the person performed physical activities such as jumping, walking on a treadmill, or used a rowing machine.

The device is easy to wear and remove and uses energy from wireless systems close to a few meters. It also has a backup power unit for use beyond the system’s range.

Cover Image: Philipp Gutruf/University of Arizona



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