Source: University of WaterlooSource: University of WaterlooEngineers from Canada's University of Waterloo have created a durable sensor for wearable devices using nanotechnology and 3D printing.

Designed to measure vital signs, athletic performance and everything in between, the sensors are composed of silicone rubber infused with extremely thin layers of graphene, creating a material that can be easily incorporated into wearable products such as wristbands and running shoes.

According to the sensor’s developers, as the rubber material flexes and moves, the nanoscale graphene emits electrical signals from within the material’s honeycomb architecture. As such, the Waterloo team believes that the highly conductive, flexible and durable rubber graphene material is ideal for constructing sensors.

Also making the material ideal for wearable sensors is that the graphene rubber can withstand harsh climates as well as laundry cycles. Meanwhile, the process of 3D printing the material allows for the customization of wearables designed for individual body shapes as well as the improved comfort of current wearables, which oftentimes tend to be too rigid.

In addition to measuring vital signs and athletic performance, researchers envision using the sensors to develop a wearable that enables healthcare professionals to remotely monitor patients.

Details about the sensor appear in the journal ACS Nano.

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