Flexible, skin-like device that can analyze health data through AI

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By combining wearable technology with artificial intelligence, researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a flexible, stretchable device that records health data and processes by mimicking the workings of a human brain. Today, there is a range of wearable fitness bands and other health devices on the market. However, most of them are unable to perform complex analyzes of the patient’s baseline measurements and detect signs of disease.

Here, the potential of artificial intelligence can be used to bridge the gap. Machine learning can help detect patterns in advanced data sets. However, sending the information from a device to a centralized AI location is not efficient enough and energy intensive.

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So in the new study, the team aimed to design a chip that could not only collect data from multiple biosensors, but also draw conclusions about the person’s health using AI. “With a smartwatch there is always a gap. We wanted something that can achieve very intimate contact and accommodate the movement of the skin,” said Sihong Wang, materials scientist and assistant professor of Molecular Engineering. Wang is also one of the authors of the study published in Matter.

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The team decided to use polymers that can be used to make semiconductors and electrochemical transistors that are also quite flexible and stretchable. They housed the polymers in a device that enabled the processing of the data via AI. The chip, called neuromorphic computing, works less like a computer and more like a human brain. In this way, it is able to store and analyze information in an integrated manner.

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Researchers have also tested the device’s efficiency and used it to analyze electrocardiogram (ECG) data, or the electrical activity of the heart. They trained the device to classify the data into four types and found that it provided an accurate analysis of whether the chip was bent or not.

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