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Small, Energy-Efficient Health Patch from imec and Holst Centre Lays the Foundation for Better Mobile Health Solutions




08/11/2016

First Health Patch to Accurately Measure Cardiac Activity, Bioimpedance and Physical Activity Can Now Be Licensed by Partner Companies to Build New Medical Applications

LEUVEN (Belgium) and EINDHOVEN (The Netherlands), Nov. 8, 2016 – At electronica, the premier international electronics tradeshow (Munich, Nov. 8-11, 2016), imec – the world-leading research and innovation center in nanoelectronics and digital technologies – Holst Centre (set up by imec and TNO), and TNO have introduced their next-generation health patch. The small form-factor comfortable to wear health patch has been optimized for low power consumption and is the first of its kind to track physical and cardiac activity, while monitoring bioelectrical impedance. A key building block in the pursuit of improved and more accurate mobile health solutions, the patch is available for licensing by partner companies ready to initiate their own medical applications.

“Since our entry in this space, we’ve advanced far beyond proof-of-concept to a patch that has attained a high level of technical maturity,” says Ruben de Francisco, Program Manager Wearable Health at imec and Holst Centre, “The underlying technologies have been fully validated, and the patch itself has been tested within a controlled environment. Today, it is ready for preclinical and usability studies. Looking ahead, we plan to build on our expertise in the domain of data science to lay the foundation for a powerful patient management solution that not only captures data, but that also turns data into meaningful information upon which people and health providers can act.”

With more people living longer than ever before and chronic disease on the rise, traditional healthcare systems are being pushed to their limits. It is generally acknowledged that the concept of digital health, and specifically mobile health, can help address that issue by enabling individuals to better track and manage their health and receive personalized and optimized treatments while reducing medical inefficiencies and costs.

The health industry has recognized the challenges and solutions, with analysts predicting that the value of the global mobile health market is expected to more than triple in the next few years, from $19.2 billion in 2016 to $58.8 billion by 2020)1 .

However, for mobile health solutions to be successful beyond concept, easy-to-use and accurate building blocks are required; technology that is being developed by imec, Holst Centre and TNO as part of their Wearable Health program. Their R&D on mobile health drives innovation from an application perspective, at system level and in terms of individual components – such as read-out circuits, batteries, adhesives, etc.

The health patch from imec, Holst Centre and TNO features more functionalities than any other patch, and does so in a small form-factor. At its heart is a chip that has been optimized for low power consumption. This chip is combined with a highly comfortable to wear electrode patch that can stay on the body for long periods of time, including when showering. It is the first patch to combine a variety of sensing capabilities – ranging from an accelerometer (to track a person’s physical activity) to ECG tracking (measuring the heart's electrical activity) and bioelectrical impedance monitoring (measuring body composition, respiratory activity and the distribution of body fluids).

“Many companies working in the digital health realm have great ideas for innovative solutions that could make it easier to remotely monitor people suffering from heart and respiratory diseases, to give an example. However, what is typically lacking, are the devices on which to run these solutions,” comments Chris Van Hoof, Program Director Wearable Health at imec and Holst Centre. “When collaborating with Holst Centre, we help these companies to take the next steps, from concept to device, and our health patch is one of the many vehicles available for licensing and customized product development,” adds Jeroen van de Brand, Director flexible electronics at Holst Centre/TNO.
The health patch integrates unique technologies and components from industrial partners, including Hitachi Maxell’s batteries optimized for wearables, Shinko Electric Industries’ System in Package (SiP) miniaturization technology and Henkel’s adhesive and ink technology.

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About imec
Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2015, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 415 million euro and of iMinds which is integrated in imec as of September 21, 2016 52 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.

Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 200 employees from around 28 nationalities and a commitment from more than 50 industrial partners. Visit us at www.holstcentre.com.

Contact:
Hanne Degans, Press Officer, +32 16 28 17 69 // +32 486 06 51 75 // Hanne.Degans@imec.

(1)https://www.statista.com/statistics/295771/mhealth-global-market-size/



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