Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 48

Health & Biotech
The microneedle patches use plas -
The microneedle patch can be applied to the skin where it captures a biomarker of interest from
interstitial fluid and thanks to its unprecedented sensitivity, allows clinicians to detect its presence.
(Image: Sisi Cao)
Once the biomarkers have been captured,
they're detected in the same
way: using fluorescence to indicate
their presence and quantity.
ISF is a rich source of biomolecules,
densely packed with everything from neurotransmitters
to cellular waste; however,
to analyze biomarkers in ISF, the conventional
method generally requires extraction
of ISF from skin. This method is difficult
and usually the amount of ISF that can
be obtained is not sufficient for analysis.
mon ic-fluors, an ultrabright fluorescence
nanolabel. Compared with traditional
fluorescent labels, when an assay was
done on a microneedle patch using plasmonic-fluor,
the signal of target protein
biomarkers shined about 1,400 times as
bright and became detectable even when
present at low concentrations.
These patches would allow providers
to monitor biomarkers over time, particularly
important when it comes to un -
derstanding how immunity plays out in
new diseases. Researchers working on
COVID-19 vaccines, for example, need
to know if people are producing the
right antibodies and for how long. The
patch would indicate whether the person
has antibodies against COVID-19
and at what level.
For people with chronic conditions
that require regular monitoring, micro -
needle patches could eliminate unnecessary
trips to the hospital, saving money,
time, and discomfort.
For more information, contact Srikanth
Singamaneni, Professor of Mechanical Engi -
neering & Materials Science, at singamaneni@
wustl.edu; 314-935-5407.
Reduced Heat Leakage Improves Wearable Health Device
A flexible device worn on the wrist harvests heat energy from the human body to monitor health.
North Carolina State University, Raleigh
esearchers have enhanced a flexible
body heat harvester by preventing
heat leakage. The harvesters use heat
energy from the human body to power
wearable technologies. The technology
relies on the same principles governing
rigid thermoelectric harvesters that convert
heat to electrical energy.
Flexible harvesters that conform to
the human body are highly desired for
use with wearable technologies. Flexible
thermoelectric generators (TEGs) provide
superior skin contact with flexible
devices as well as ergonomic and comfort
considerations to the device wearer.
The performance and efficiency of flexible
harvesters, however, historically trail
well behind rigid devices, which have
been superior in their ability to convert
body heat into usable energy.
The TEG originally employed semiconductor
elements that were connected
electrically in series using liquidmetal
interconnects made of EGaIn - a
non-toxic alloy of gallium and indium.
R
48
Cov
The flexible heat harvesting device shows better efficiency at retaining heat to power the device.
(Photo courtesy of Mehmet Ozturk)
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021

Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov2
Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - 1
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - Cov3
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Tech Briefs Magazine - August 2021 - MD-Cov1
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