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22 The PCB Magazine • January 2016 The springboard of MBAN and wireless commu- nication protocols and the security standards developed for those allow for a proliferation of a new class of remote monitoring devices. Such devices can collect data like blood pressure, temperature, skin moisture content. These can include everything from wearable textiles like the Mimo baby monitoring night suit (Figure 14) or training suits for sports or fitness. There are even smart tattoos that can monitor skin conditions and upload them to the cloud (Fig- ure 15). ABI Research estimates that 5 million disposable, wearable, medical sensors will ship by 2018. The potential growth in these areas is so significant that on July 23, 2015 industry heavyweight Flextronics has rebranded itself "Flex" in order to better position it to be con- sidered a player in the wearables and flexible electronics markets and not just an assembly operation (Figure 16). So the common thread is that remote moni- toring technology is driving the consumer wear- ables and diagnostics market. A key takeaway from all of this is that if you have a board shop or printed electronics shop building medical de- vices, keep your quality up and deliver on time and you can expect consistent growth. If you are a patient for some of these devices, your com- fort level and life expectancy will continue to improve. If you are an early adopter of wearable technology, you can expect an endless stream of new devices to try out. All this taken together ensures that in time we will all live to be two centuries old and will likely walk down the street dressed like Daft Punk (and if you don't know who Daft Punk is, perhaps you may be an early success case for longevity). PCB ROBOTS, WEARABLES AND IMPLANTED DEVICES IN THE AGE OF BIONIC HEALTH Figure 16: Flex technology center showcasing wearable circuits. Figure 17: Daft punk wearing their trademark lighted helmets. Jason Marsh is vice president of product management at insulectro. to read past columns, or to contact the author, click here. Feature

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