Recently, we have seen many implantable biosensors that do not require batteries, and these sensors are activated by handheld devices that read them. Scientists have now created another similar sensor that is smaller than previous sensors.
Externally powered biosensors are designed to continuously monitor various bodily processes and are not only smaller than similar sensors powered by batteries, but also do not need to be retrieved surgically for battery replacement.
They usually contain a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that will transmit data when the chip is temporarily powered by a radio signal from an external reader device-the device is then fixed near the implantation site in the patient. In order to generate a signal sufficient to be read, the biosensor needs to be relatively large.
The National University of Singapore team, led by Associate Professor John Ho, recently addressed this limitation by creating a reader that is three times more sensitive than existing equipment. As a result, related biosensors can be correspondingly smaller.
The current prototype sensor is only 0.9 mm wide and has been injected under the skin of experimental rats using a hypodermic needle. Once implanted, it can monitor breathing and heart rate based on subtle movements. Once researchers progress further, the technology can be used to accomplish much more.
John Ho said: “We hope that our breakthrough will become the future pioneer of minimally invasive health monitoring solutions, as soon as the patient’s physiological condition […] exceeds a critical threshold, an alarm can be issued immediately. Now that we have proven the read Device, the next step is to develop a battery-free micro-sensor that can monitor various physiological parameters such as glucose, bio-electric activity and blood chemistry. “
The research is described in a paper recently published in the journal Nature Electronics.