Even better, the researchers found that their durable seaweed-based sensors outperform existing synthetic-based hydrogels and nanomaterials used in outdated health monitors in terms of sensitivity. Therefore, increasing accuracy means that the more sensitive a sensor is, the more accurately it will record a person’s vital signs.

The idea of ​​using seaweed in a health monitoring device was developed by leading University of Sussex physicist Dr. Conor Boland was born while watching TV during quarantine.

MasterChef Inspired Edible Health Sensor

Material physics teacher of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences Dr. Conor Boland said: “I was first inspired to use seaweed in the lab after watching MasterChef during quarantine. When seaweed is used to thicken deserts, it gives them a soft, bouncy texture – a favorite with vegans and vegetarians as an alternative to gelatin. This got me thinking, “What if we could do this with sensing technology?”.


“For me, one of the most exciting aspects of this development is that we have a sensor that is both fully biodegradable and highly effective. The mass production of unsustainable rubber and plastic-based health technology can, ironically, pose a threat to human health. Microplastics enter water sources as they break down.

“As a new parent, I see it as my responsibility to ensure that my research leads to a cleaner world for all our children.”

Seaweed: Like a Second Skin

Seaweed is primarily an insulator, but by adding a critical amount of graphene to the seaweed mixture, scientists were able to create an electrically conductive film. When soaked in a salt bath, the film rapidly absorbs water, resulting in a soft, spongy, electrically conductive hydrogel.

The development has the potential to revolutionize health monitoring technology, as future applications of clinical-grade wearable sensors will look like a second skin or a temporary tattoo: lightweight, easy to apply and safe because they are made from all-natural ingredients. This will significantly improve the overall patient experience without the need for more commonly used and potentially invasive hospital instruments, wires and leads.

Sussex University Director of Innovation and Business Partnerships Dr. Sue Baxter is excited about the potential benefits of this technology: “At the University of Sussex, we are committed to protecting the future of the planet through sustainability research, practice and experience. What’s exciting about this development by Dr Conor Boland and his team is that it achieves truly sustainable, affordable and highly effective – high quality synthetic alternatives all at once.

“What’s also remarkable about this phase of the research—and I think it speaks to the serious groundwork Dr. Boland and his team put in when they came up with their plan—is that it’s more than a proof-of-principle development. Our Sussex scientists. Yours or mine in the relatively near future.” We’ve created a device with real potential for industrial development into a product we can take advantage of.”

This latest research achievement follows the publication by Sussex scientists in 2019 of a blueprint for the development of nanomaterials, which provides a method for researchers to follow to optimize the development of nanomaterial sensors.

The lead author, who worked on the findings under Dr Boland’s supervision, was Sussex graduate student Kevin Doty.

Kevin Doty, MSc student at the University of Sussex’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said: “I used to teach chemistry but decided I wanted to learn more about nanoscience. My gamble paid off and not only did I enjoy it. It was more than I expected, but I also got the M.Sc. student, I had the opportunity to use the information I learned to work on a new idea that turned into a first author publication. Learning about nanoscience showed me how diverse and multifaceted this field is. Any science background can bring uniquely applicable knowledge to this field. It opened up a new career path that I hadn’t thought of before, leading to further study at the Ph.D.”

Source: Eurekalert

Source link


Leave A Reply