Film-tech boosts wearables

Small electronic devices that attach to the skin like a patch are being enabled by a breathable skin-friendly film developed by Covestro.

A film made of thermoplastic polyurethane, frequently in combination with a thermoplastic PU foam, can be made with a variety of embedded sensors and electronics. The patches need to be comfort for the wearer, non-obtrusive, and adhere to the body easily using a thin solvent-free adhesive bond. The aim from this combination of different materials is that they can be worn as wearable sensors for extended periods of time by users.

The company say they are flat, flexible and inconspicuous, but very intelligent. The small electronic can harvest a variety of inputs such as body temperature, pulse rate, and movement to provide feedback on sports and leisure activities or for treating medical conditions.

It’s expected that in the future, improved and even smarter products will also play a supporting role in medical diagnoses and treatments, and even deliver medications in accurate dosages. This would require them to remain on the skin for extended periods and be comfortable to wear.

“Consumers want wearables that cling gently to the skin, and that are also breathable and hypoallergenic,” says Gerd Büschel, a films expert at Covestro. “We’re meeting this need with a clever combination of different materials.”

Justin Cunningham

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