Flexible electronics will expand beyond its current high-profile role in fitness devices over the next five years, potentially aiding in the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, an expert told engineers at the Medical Design & Manufacturing conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
At the Medical Design & Manufacturing conference in Philadelphia, Roozbeh Ghaffari described how flexible electronics could one day help treat patients with movement disorders.
(Source: Design News)
Speaking at a session, “Bend It Like Beckham: Exploring the Benefits of Flexible Electronics,” Roozbeh Ghaffari, co-founder of MC10 Inc.
, told conference attendees that flexible electronics could work with transdermal patches that would release medication in such patients. “It’s a long road to get there, but we can imagine measuring and monitoring patients, and then having information fed to a physician to release a drug through a transdermal surface,” Ghaffari said.
Flexible circuitry would play an important role by providing quantitative information to physicians who try to monitor such diseases as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and multiple sclerosis. Today, doctors typically rely on patient diaries to give them insight into the ongoing evolution of those illnesses.
READ MORE ARTICLES ON MEDICAL ELECTRONICS:
To get more reliable information, doctors could place flexible electronic bandages on patients’ legs, torsos, forearms, backs and other body parts, Ghaffari said. “We’re seeing devices that can remotely monitor patients in a way that hasn’t been possible previously,” he told Design News. “The vision is to provide quantitative data streams that would help track how a patient is doing.”
MC10, which makes flexible electronic systems, can incorporate measurement capabilities onto devices about the size of a Band-Aid. To do the measurements, the “smart bandages” incorporate sensors, microprocessors, memory and batteries, among other components.
Ghaffari said such flexible electronics would not only provide better information, but would allow doctors to respond more quickly. “We’re getting to the point where you could have a fully-closed loop system,” Ghaffari said. “But there’s still a lot to do.”
We’re heading to Philly and Houston! Design & Manufacturing Philadelphia will take place Oct. 7-8, while Design & Manufacturing Texas will be in Houston Oct. 13-14. Get up close with the latest design and manufacturing technologies, meet qualified suppliers for your applications, and expand your network. Learn from experts at educational conferences and specialty events. Register today for our premier industry showcases in Philadelphia and Texas!
Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 31 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and autos.