3D-printed wearable sits on ear to measure body temperature

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Wearables have become a commonplace for people looking to keep healthy with fitness trackers. Now, researchers have developed a 3D-printed wearable device, outlined in ACS Sensors, to measure core body temperature in real time.

Body temperature is a key data point in identifying many health conditions such as insomnia, fatigue, metabolic function and depression. Current wearables are able to detect skin temperature but are affected by the environment, making them unreliable. Researchers set out to produce an effective wearable able to be worn on a daily basis.

The 3D-printed wearable utilizes data processing circuits, a wireless module and infrared sensors to detect core body temperature through the wearer's ear. The Bluetooth-enabled module sends data from the device to the user’s smartphone to help patients and providers identify health conditions. The device is disc-shape, embedded with a microphone to transmit sounds and covers the ear. Each device can be personalized to fit a wearer's ear

“We demonstrate that the core body temperature can be accurately monitored regardless of the environment and activity of the user,” wrote Hiroki Ota, first author on the study, and colleagues. “In addition, a microphone and actuator are also integrated so that the device can also function as a bone conduction hearing aid. Using 3D printing as the fabrication method enables the device to be customized for the wearer for more personalized healthcare. This smart device provides an important advance in realizing personalized health care by enabling real-time monitoring of one of the most important medical parameters, core body temperature, employed in preliminary medical screening tests.”