Recent Developments in Printing Flexible and Wearable Sensing Electronics for Healthcare Applications
Wearable biosensors attract significant interest for their capabilities in real-time monitoring of wearers' health status, as well as the surrounding environment. Sensor patches are embedded onto the human epidermis accompanied by data readout and signal conditioning circuits with wireless communication modules for transmitting data to the computing devices. Wearable sensors designed for recognition of various biomarkers in human epidermis fluids, such as glucose, lactate, pH, cholesterol,
... as well as physiological indicators, i.e., pulse rate, temperature, breath rate, respiration, alcohol, activity monitoring, etc., have potential applications both in medical diagnostics and fitness monitoring. The rapid developments in solution-based nanomaterials offered a promising perspective to the field of wearable sensors by enabling their cost-efficient manufacturing through printing on a wide range of flexible polymeric substrates. This review highlights the latest key developments made in the field of wearable sensors involving advanced nanomaterials, manufacturing processes, substrates, sensor type, sensing mechanism, and readout circuits, and ends with challenges in the future scope of the field. Sensors are categorized as biological and fluidic, mounted directly on the human body, or physiological, integrated onto wearable substrates/gadgets separately for monitoring of human-body-related analytes, as well as external stimuli. Special focus is given to printable materials and sensors, which are key enablers for wearable electronics.