A team of researchers in the US have created a flexible and stretchable skin-like computing chip that stores information by mimicking the human brain. The goal of this device, as mentioned in the journal Matter, is to bring change in the ways health data is refined. Sihong Wang, a materials scientist and Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, said, "With this work we've bridged wearable technology with artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a powerful device which can analyse health data right on our own bodies."
Wang and his team of researchers used polymers, which can be used to create semiconductors and electrochemical transistors but also have the power to move and bend. They arranged the polymers inside a device that helped in analysing the health data based on artificial-intelligence. Instead of functioning like a basic computer, the chip, called a neuromorphic computing chip, works more like a human brain that can both save and examine data in a consolidated way. To check the usefulness of their new device, Wang's team used it to analyse the data of electrocardiogram (ECG) which presents the electrical actions of the human heart.
They instructed the device to divide ECGs into five parts, mainly healthy or four kinds of abnormal signals. Post that, they tried it on the new ECGs. Even if the chip was stretched or not, they showed that it can effectively and accurately divide the heartbeats. More research is still required to test the strength of the device in working out the patterns of health and disease. However, it can be used either to send clinical alerts to patients, or to automatically modify medications eventually.
Wang said, "If you can get real-time information on blood pressure, for instance, this device could very intelligently make decisions about when to adjust the patient's blood pressure medication levels." He further added, "That kind of automatic feedback loop is already used by some implantable insulin pumps."
Presently, getting a detailed profile about your health requires a visit to a hospital or clinic. In the near future, Wang said that public health could be monitored constantly by using wearable electronic gadgets that can diagnose diseases even before the symptoms develop.