Can We Create a ‘Check Engine’ Light for Humans?

NextFlex is a diverse organization focused on manufacturing flexible hybrid electronics for preventative care and continuous health monitoring.

Flexible Electronics / Image: Parc
Flexible Electronics / Image: Parc

A recent STAT News article explored the concept of a “check engine” light for humans, and how flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) are the key. In order to tackle this “holy grail of human health,” it’ll take continuous monitoring far beyond what current wearable are capable of. A group called NextFlex has made it their mission to advance U.S. manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics that adhere to an individual’s skin to monitor health.

The group, which is partially funded by the Department of Defense, consists of companies, academic institutions, non-profits, and state, local, and federal governments. Flexible electronics will eventually allow for truly unobtrusive medical devices that continually monitor vitals for the earliest possible detection of illness, exhaustion, and organ distress. While it may still seem like science fiction, cracking the code may be closer than we expect, especially considering the consortium of collaborators working together to make it a reality.

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