Quad Industries joins European NexGen consortium

Quad Industries has joined the European NexGen research project, which is investigating the use of wearable sensors to actively monitor bodily functions. “We are currently working on a multi-sensor patch, aimed at preventing dehydration. We are very excited to be part of this project, which puts us at the forefront of digital healthcare,” says Wim Christiaens, R&D director at Quad Industries.

Healthcare becomes wearable

Digital health solutions are one of the most promising areas of technological progress. “Monitoring bodily functions has the potential for revolutionizing our healthcare system, preventing unforeseen hospitalization and improving quality of life for millions of people. It also opens up many opportunities for self-empowered medicine and an increased overall efficiency of public healthcare systems. However, there is still a lot of work to be done,” observes Wim Christiaens.

With research projects such as NexGen—Next Generation of Body Monitoring—Europe has the ambition to be at the forefront of these evolutions. The project is part of the European Catrene program for co-operative R&D employing microelectronics. Partners in the consortium include big hitters such as Siemens and Philips working alongside a wide variety of smaller, more specialized companies, including Quad Industries.

Smart patch prevents dehydration

“There are two monitoring systems presently being researched within the project,” says Wim Christiaens. “One is an implanted glucose monitor for diabetes patients. The other an on-body multi-sensor skin patch for measuring a wide variety of parameters, including temperature and motion. Quad Industries is presently involved with the latter.”

“We are currently working on a dehydration sensor,” continues Wim Christiaens. “Dehydration is a major concern in care for the elderly. At the other end of the spectrum, it also has important applications in endurance sports. Just think of the many marathon runners collapsing in races because they haven’t been drinking enough. A wearable patch, monitoring such vital parameters as temperature and skin resistance while analyzing the chemical composition of the sweat can literally save lives.”

Building on our expertise

Quad Industries is collaborating closely with Sioen Industries, specialized in technical textiles. “We are building on our expertise in smart labels for food packaging and medical products, and finding out how we can transfer them to the human body. How can we integrate our printed sensors and batteries into wearables that are flexible enough for usage on the human skin? We are still in the early stages, but the aim is to come up with a product that is ready for medical approval within three years,” states Wim Christiaens.

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