The example of the romper suit is just one of many potential applications for flexible circuit boards. For instance, the technology could also be used to provide subtle lighting in the roof lining of cars "stars" on the car roof, for example. Equally, it could be set to work in the pressure bandages applied to burn wounds. Here, PU plasters equipped with integrated sensors would help nurses find the optimal placement for the bandage.
Using plasters to inspect kidney function
The stretchable circuit board is also the basis for a plaster being developed by medical scientists from the University of Heidelberg in collaboration with the Fraunhofer researchers. In future, doctors will be able to use this plaster to test the kidney function of their patients. Up to now, the procedure has involved injecting a substance that only the kidney is able to break down, and then taking blood samples roughly every 30 minutes over a three-hour period. If a kidney is healthy, it will almost completely break down the substance within three hours; if it is diseased, it will only manage a slow reduction in concentration. Equipped with a PU circuit board plaster, a blue LED and a detector, in future doctors will be able to spare patients a lot of jabbing and examine them with much more precision. As in the standard procedure, the investigation begins with the doctor injecting a substance, in this case an organic colorant. The blue LED causes this colorant to fluoresce, making it glow, a development in turn picked up by the detector located in the plaster. As the natural colorant is broken down by the kidney, the concentration of fluorescent radiation also decreases. "The plaster allows doctors to continually monitor the concentration of the test substance, giving them a more accurate diagnosis than the standard check. In addition, the costs of the test can be reduced by
|Contact: Manuel Seckel|