Medical wearables is set to revolutionize the healthcare industry, redefining the patient experience as we know it. It can track patient behavior, identify individuals at risk of illness and future complications, monitor patient progress, alerting physicians when anomalies occur, and provide more cost-effective care while improving patient outcomes. Wearables come in different shapes and sizes, but thank to the evolution of nanotechnology, they are getting smaller, smarter and more accurate.
The Swiss startup Xsensio is set to reinvent the role of wearables, and is developing Lab-on-Skin devices that exploit the biochemical information on the surface of our skin, accurately and robustly monitoring physical and physiological states through sweat. The tiny intelligent stamps are made from silicon transistors, each 20 nanometer. These transistors have a fixed microfluidic channel, which the fluid to be analyzed flows. When the molecules pass, their electrical charge disturbs the sensor, making it possible to deduce the fluid’s composition. A network of these tiny transistors are placed on one chip, each locating a different particle, potentially detecting electrolytes, metabolites, small molecules and proteins. In addition to the unique sensor for sweat analysis, the stamp also include a wireless antenna to transmit data to the patient’s phone, and an energy harvester to make the entire system autonomous.
The value of the wearable technology market is expected to rise from $20 billion in 2015 to $70 billion by 2025, according to IDTechEx, and some of the largest technology companies are heavily invested in developing the industry. Xsensio is developing the next-generation wearables, which unlike most chips also include circuits that enable the amplification of the signals. The proximity between the sensors and the circuit ensures that signals are not disturbed, providing extremely stable and accurate measurements. In addition, the startup’s innovative technology stands out from its competitors because it’s ultra-low power, compatibility with existing electronics, and ease of reproduction.
Xsensio and their “Lab-on-Skin” wearable is a simple and non-invasive sensing tool that continuously detect biomarkers at the surface of the skin, providing unprecedented real-time information about our health condition. They can be used directly as ultra-thin patches on the skin, integrated in a garment or into objects, even potentially as a biosensor with blood tests, highlighting the huge potential and applicability of the technology. The startup is in for a bright future, potentially identifying patients at risk of illness and provide more cost-effective care. And no matter how the technology is applied, it will help people make smarter health and wellness decisions.
Xsensio is a spinoff of the Nanolab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and was founded in 2014. In 2015, the startup was a finalist of the Brain Forum and of the >>Venture>> business plan competition, and was the winner on the IMD startup competition. In 2016, Xsensio was among the top 10 of the Swisscom Startup Challenge, and received the gold award at MassChallenge Switzerland after finishing the 4-month acceleration program. The startup has also been supported by Venture Kick, and received grants from EPFL Innogrants and TETRACOM.