European countries are facing rising healthcare costs due to an aging population. At the same time, the demand for medical devices for screening and monitoring functions is increasing. Especially in recent years, also the sustainability aspect has come into focus: medical devices and tools should be as resource and environmentally friendly as possible throughout the entire value chain and leave a small ecological footprint.
The aim of the EU project SusFE - SEE (Sustainable Flexible Electronics – Sensing Smart Patches and Textile Integration) is to develop a sustainable design and production platform for a new generation of sustainable and at the same time cost-efficient medical wearables and diagnostic devices. Nine European partners from research and industry are pooling their expertise to this goal, including Fraunhofer EMFT.
The consortium, led by Medtronic Ibérica, is focusing on a combination of sustainable materials and processes such as novel flexible integrated circuits (FlexIC), printed sensors, compostable paper-based energy sources and a roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing platform for wound healing monitoring and self-blood sampling devices and for point-of-care devices.
Among other things, the partners plan to develop a smart sensor patch for monitoring the health status of patients as part of the project. It consists of FlexICs, a bioenzymatic fuel cell and an atmospheric plasma coating of bioreceptors and is to be manufactured in a roll-to-roll process. In addition, the team is working on analyzing materials and defining processes for manufacturing biodegradable printed textile-integrated multi-electrode arrays.
Fraunhofer EMFT scientists are focusing on contributing their many years of expertise in the manufacture of flexible electronics using the R2R process. Their tasks include the fabrication of copper wiring systems on foil substratesand the modular integration of electronic modules, sensor patches and batteries.
The project is funded by the EU Horizon RIA program under 101070477 - SusFE.