COVID-19 pandemic has shown the increased need for sensors and wearables with conformable form factors.

The healthcare sector is been one of the most promising segments for flexible and printed electronics. With the devastating COVID-19 pandemic spreading further on a global level, the need for smart technology to take pressure off healthcare professionals and improve patient treatment could not be more evident.

Since the beginning of 2020, there have been some excellent examples of new products being launched in response to the pandemic; products offering new possibilities for the future of healthcare and improved patient comfort.

Many companies are working on projects related to COVID-19. Henkel partnered with Quad Industries and Byteflies on their smart patch. Stijn Gillissen, Henkel’s global head for printed electronics, noted that Henkel is seeing the expansion of smart sensing devices being launched that increase the comfort of patients.

“We are seeing growth in smart monitoring systems that are not attached to your body with cables, but are small in size, lightweight and have a form factor that is comfortable for the patient,” Gillissen noted. “The COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of monitoring patients comfortably and preferably in their home environment.”

Gillissen stated that Henkel has worked on several projects related to healthcare, including test strips and EKG monitoring. “Henkel has partnered with a few companies on creating a smart health patch; an electronic sticker that you can attach to the body in order to measure temperature, respiration and heart rate,” Gillissen reported.
“It is currently being rolled out selectively in 10 hospitals in Belgium. We are also supplying materials for point-of-care devices that can be applied to create a disposable device that tests whether a patient has COVID-19 within a few minutes, in order to prevent further spread of the infection and to ensure sufficient patient treatment.”

Arne Casteleyn, director of sales and new business development for Quad Industries, said that he is seeing many requests for electronic skin patches (ECG, EEG, sleep diagnostics), and also a growing interest in the use of washable (textile integrated)
“So far, all tests are very positive,” Casteleyn said. “Our customer, Byteflies, recently launched a dedicated website for the solution.
“The COVID patch is a huge focus now since it’s going into commercialization right now,” Casteleyn added. “Other projects are mostly still in clinical trials and I can’t disclose those.”

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