The US FlexTech Alliance is supporting a project to develop and manufacture an integrated printed sensor system for use in healthcare applications.
In the project a printed sensor platform developed by PARC and Thin Film Electronics (Thinfilm) is being integrated with temperature sensing, and an oxygen sensor under development at the University of California at Berkeley.
Potential products include a simple, unobtrusive biosensor that can be used as part of treatment for respiratory diseases – known as pulse oximetry – to monitor the percentage of haemoglobin that is oxygen-saturated.
Pulse oximeters are used routinely in critical care, anaesthesiology, accident and emergency departments, ambulances, and are an increasingly common part of a general practitioner’s (GP) kit. The device being developed in the FlexTech-funded project will pave the way for low-cost medical sensors that patients can wear at home.
Thinfilm is supplying its Addressable Memory for the project, which combines Thinfilm’s Passive Array Memory with printed CMOS-equivalent logic. The technology platform is used for printed electronic systems, such as temperature sensors and non-contact ID tags.
The project will demonstrate the first integrated printed sensor circuitry, and provide reference designs for sensor control and integration with other devices. The building blocks of these designs will be made by gravure printing.
Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija says: ‘The applications enabled by this project will address the homecare and patient care market. Through our close work with PARC we have developed a platform technology. We are starting to see other institutes and organisations developing components that are compatible with our platform, for various different markets and applications.’