Recently, we’ve seen a number of implantable biosensors that don’t require batteries, activated by handheld devices that read them. Scientists have now created a similar sensor, which is smaller than previous sensors.
Externally powered biosensors are designed to continuously monitor various body processes, not only smaller than battery-powered sensors of their kind, but also without surgical retrieval to replace the battery.
They typically contain a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that transmits data when it is temporarily powered up by a radio signal from an external reader device , which is then fixed near the implant site in the patient’s body. In order to produce a sufficient signal to be read, biosensors need to be relatively large.
The National University of Singapore team, led by Associate Professor John Ho, recently addressed the restriction by creating a reader three times more sensitive than an existing device. As a result, the associated biosensors can be smaller accordingly.
The current prototype sensor is only 0.9 mm wide and has been injected under the skin of the experimental rat with a subcutaneous injection needle. Once implanted, it can monitor breathing and heart rate based on monitoring subtle sounds. Once further developed by researchers, the technology could be used to accomplish more.
“We hope that our breakthrough will be a pioneer in the future of minimally invasive health monitoring solutions, as long as the patient’s physiological condition is . . . After the critical threshold is exceeded, an alarm can be issued immediately. Now that we’ve proven the feasibility of a reader, the next step is to develop a battery-free microsensor that can monitor physiological parameters such as glucose, bioelectric activity and blood chemistry. “
The study was described in a recent paper published in the journal Nature Electronics.