Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have developed flexible biosensors that can be integrated into earphones. According to a paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the 3D-printed sensors can measure brain activity and body readings in the process.
The sensors are capable of recording EEG signals to measure brain waves, as well as lactate levels in sweat. The data could be evaluated for neuro-monitoring, performance measurement in sports or stress diagnostics, for example.
According to the developers, the unobtrusive sensor systems can be worn comfortably in the ear. Unlike existing wearables, they enable the combined recording of cognitive and metabolic parameters via the widespread use of earphones.
Using a 3D screen-printing process, the researchers flexibly attached the sensors to a stamp-like surface. This is then attached to the earphones. Special spring systems and hydrogels ensure reliable skin contact.
According to the scientists, such multi-sensor earphones could set a new standard for wearable health monitoring. They are already working on more compact designs as well as signal processing and data transmission directly in the earphones.