In Part 1 of this column series, I wrote about the possibility of using advancements in electronics to create coronavirus detection devices. I received many comments and ideas for these new medical devices. Several commented on current electronic projects intended to develop detection and diagnostic equipment.
The idea is to create a wearable electronic sensor that attaches to your body. The substrate requirements are different from those used in traditional materials (polyimide films or PET films). Device substrates have to be flexible and elastic to remain attached during body movements; urethane and silicone rubber could be options. Larger devices will require a permeable substrate to address moisture from sweating. One option for this basic material is to use adhesive bandages along with an appropriate coating material or glue.
The PCB’s copper foil (standard conductor material) is not suitable for a wearable device because of its poor elasticity. Using meander patterns as conductors can improve the copper foil circuits’ elasticity, but it is not enough for general use. One alternative for wiring electronic devices is screen-printable conductive ink. The elasticity from the conductive ink can increase by adding a rubber component for the binder matrix.
Multiple electrode patterns used in sensor modules are needed to continuously detect temperature, oxygen levels, perspiration, and more. The sensors can’t detect coronavirus, but the data sent to wireless devices and picked up by an AI chip can be analyzed. The results can trigger an early detection alarm if the user has symptoms associated with the coronavirus. The primary feature of this diagnosis system is continuous monitoring of your health and vitals during the infection. The AI devices learn as more data is analyzed, and accuracy will be improved.
The hardware will not require any unique creation for use as the module, and it could cost less than $100 once volume production is scaled. Printable and flexible electronics will play a key role in building the devices. The sensor parts should be disposable because they are attached to human skin. The necessity for early detection is essential, and this device could fill that need. Once operational, it can detect and monitor all your health for almost anything with a quick update and download. I can see every major retailer offering this product for sale.
1. TSMC (semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) 5/12
Offers optimistic forecast for the market trend in 2021. AMD, one of its major customers, has been taking over the market share from Intel.
2. Sony (electronics company in Japan) 5/13
Made a good performance with imaging devices for the fiscal year ending March 2020 (revenue: 1.7 trillion yen, a 22% increase from previous year).
3. Renesas (semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 5/15
Decided to terminate the business of laser diodes, photodiodes, and photodetectors. The revenue was much smaller than the forecast they planned.
4. Sony (electronics company in Japan) 5/18
Unveiled a new image “intelligent vision sensor” with AI functions that does not need additional processor and memories in the chip.
5. JEITA (electronic industry association in Japan) 5/18
Indicates that connectors are key components for the car electronics in the roadmap published in 2019.
6. Tokyo University (Japan) 5/19
Succeeded to process sub-micron scale using a femtosecond laser with a wavelength of 10–100 nanometers.
7. Unitree Robotics (robotics venture in China) 5/20
Commercialized a dog-shaped robot with four legs with high mobility. The retail cost is about $10,000 for one unit.
8. Samsung Electronics (electronics company in Japan) 5/21
Plans to develop ultra-high-resolution image sensors with 600 million pixels to compete with Sony’s devices.
9. TDK (device manufacturer in Japan) 5/22
Started volume production of an SMT common-mode filter for automotive Ethernet.
10. Share Medical (medical device manufacturer in Japan) 5/22
Agreed to co-develop a wireless digital stethoscope for non-touch diagnosis of coronavirus cases. The small device can be attached to a traditional stethoscope.
11. Shibaura Institute of Technology (technical college in Japan) 5/22
Developed a spherical speaker, introducing a dielectric elastomer actuator, which emits high tones up to 16k Hz in all directions.
12. Fuji Keizai (market research firm in Japan) 5/22
Estimated the market of capacitance-type touch panel screen at 1.87 trillion yen in 2019; the firm now forecasts 1.71 trillion yen in 2024. There will be a remarkable shift from glass bases to flexible ones.
Dominique K. Numakura is the managing director of DKN Research LLC. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and news.