Wireless power drives 3D printed medical wearable

Wireless power drives 3D printed medical wearable

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers at the University of Arizona in the US have developed a 3D printed wearable device  with wireless power to monitor biomedical signals for at-home diagnosis and athletic training,

The researchers used Powercast’s wireless power technology to keep the wearables charged. The sensors are custom made for each person using 3D printing and flexible circuits, allowing the flexible devices can be worn anywhere on the body for several months. The devices include inertial measurement units and strain sensors that can characterize gait and performance of individual muscle groups, as well as high resolution temperature sensors able to detect subtle changes in body temperature that can be used to characterize performance.

The user places a Powercaster wireless charger where they work or sleep, which will recharge their wearable over the air. Researchers expect about two years before availability, and are working towards clinical trials.

“We chose Powercast’s technology because it is commercially available for purchase and the company supports developers with easy-to-use development tools and engineering know-how,” said Philipp Gutruf, assistant professor of biomedical engineers in the University of Arizona college of engineering. “We look forward to partnering with Powercast as we commercialize and bring our unique wearables to market.”

Powercast is also working with Badger Technologies, a product division of contract manufacturing giant Jabil, to develop a prototype of an all-in-one robotic price-changing system.

The Robotic RFID Reader and Batteryless Immortal ESL Autonomous Price Changing System is intended to improve operational efficiency by saving retailers time, money and batteries by monitoring on-shelf product availability, verifying prices, and collecting data from the retail floor to improve operational efficiencies and shopping experiences.

Pairing Powercast’s batteryless ESLs with Badger Technologies’ autonomous robots now enables the back office to manage real-time electronic updates for the first time, while freeing associates to serve customers instead of changing price tags and eliminating the labor-intensive battery replacement and disposal problems associated with battery-powered ESLs.

RFID readers installed on the robots send RF power over the air as they roam by the ESLs to Powercast’s receiver chips embedded in the ESLs. These chips convert the RF to DC power to wirelessly update the ESL’s ePaper displays with new prices. Using LiDAR to detect and safely avoid people, the robots can travel a store 24/7 for a completely autonomous price checking and changing system.

“The ability to help retailers implement a batteryless, autonomous price-changing system takes customer service and operational efficiency to the next level,” said William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies. “Powercast’s rich experience in RF wireless design and Badger’s proven retail automation expertise helped fulfill the vision for this unique solution.”

“There are many cool products around the world today already being powered by our over-the-air RF wireless power technology,” said Charles Goetz, CEO of Powercast, “and we’re seeing increased requests as both industrial and consumer markets pursue greener designs that both cut the wires and keep batteries out of landfills.”

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