Fri. Dec 13th, 2019

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Expert Discusses Key Challenges for the Next Generation of Wearables

For decades, pedometers have counted our steps and offered insights into mobility. More recently, smartwatches have begun to track a suite of vital signs in real-time. There is, however, a third category of information—in addition to mobility and vitals—that could be monitored by wearable devices: biochemistry.

To be clear, there are real-time biochemistry monitoring devices available like the FreeStyle Libre, which can monitor blood glucose in people with diabetes for 14 days at a time, relatively unobtrusively. But Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego thinks there’s still room for improvement. During a talk about biochemistry wearables at ApplySci’s 12thWearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech event at Harvard on 14 November, Wang outlined some of the key challenges to making such wearables as ubiquitous and unobtrusive as the Apple Watch.

Wang identified three engineering problems that must be tackled: flexibility, power, and treatment delivery. He also discussed potential solutions that his research team has identified for each of these problems.