Seaweed second skins could transform health and fitness sensor tech

Scientists at the University of Sussex have successfully trialed new biodegradable health sensors – such as those worn by runners or patients to monitor heart rate and temperature, or perhaps even continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) used by people with diabetes – that could change the way we experience personal healthcare and fitness monitoring technology.

The team at Sussex have developed the new health sensors using natural elements like rock salt, water and seaweed, combined with graphene. Because they are solely made with ingredients found in nature, the sensors are fully biodegradable, making them more environmentally friendly than commonly used rubber and plastic-based alternatives. Their natural composition also places them within the emerging scientific field of ‘edible electronics’ – electronic devices that are safe for a person to consume.

The researchers have also found that their sustainable seaweed-based sensors actually outperform existing alternatives in terms of sensitivity and – therefore – accuracy, as the more sensitive a sensor, the more accurately it will record a person’s vital signs.

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