There's no denying that wearable technology has revolutionized the medical device market. Whether for counting steps or monitoring cardiac rhythm, wearables can help people stay healthy and improve clinical outcomes.
However, for as far as wearable technology has advanced, most products are still rigid, sometimes bulky devices that are worn by the user – not directly attached to the body. That means there's an opportunity to take wearables to the next level with electronic skin patches. In fact, according to IDTechEx, revenue from electronic skin patches will grow to $20B by 2029.
Electronic skin patches are thin, flexible products that attach to the user’s skin through the use of biocompatible adhesives. For example, instead of a heart rate monitor taking the form of a strap that is placed on and secured around the user (and can be removed or misplaced), it can be applied directly to a specific area of skin. The electronic components of the product – including sensors, processors, and communication elements – are integrated into the skin patch.
Compared to traditional wearable devices, electronic skin patches can be smaller, lighter, more comfortable, and less intrusive for users. Patches can be designed for single, short-term, or extended use.
Thanks to their reliability and convenience, electronic skin patches are excellent options for remote monitoring in both inpatient and outpatient cases. Currently, electronic skin patches are most commonly used in cardiac monitoring and diabetes management. But the versatile technology can be utilized for a wide variety of other uses, including
- Motion and position sensing
- Monitoring vital signs
- Temperature sensing
- Drug and cosmetic delivery
- Newborn monitoring
- Smart wound care
- General sensing
One of the most common challenges when developing an electronic skin patch is adhesion. Skin can be a very tricky substrate to stick to due to natural oils, sweat, and other factors. Plus, adhesives need to be skin-friendly to avoid irritation or other health complications. That's why it's very important to test direct-to-skin adhesives – including acrylics, rubber-based, and silicone – early in the development process to find the right option for your application.
At Tapecon, we offer a multitude of capabilities that can assist in the development of an electronic skin patch.
- With our materials expertise, we can recommend and test patches and tapes that suit the product’s purpose and intended wear duration
- Our printed electronics capabilities allow high-tech circuitry to be printed on light, flexible materials
- Our design and engineering consultation always keeps manufacturability in mind, ensuring a smooth transition from development to production
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our wearable skin tapes and patches applications.