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34 The PCB Magazine • November 2014 Think about your last doctor's appoint- ment. You probably had your blood pressure taken and blood drawn for routine tests. Your doctor may have listened to your heart with a stethoscope and then referred you to the hos- pital for an electrocardiogram (EKG). There, a nurse pasted electrodes on your chest so a ma- chine the size of an office printer could record the electrical activity of your heart. All a neces- sary part of your wellness routine, but you had to take a day off work and endure a little pain in the process. Now imagine this scenario: You check in at the doctor's office. The receptionist hands you a small, self-adhesive patch that you wear on your skin and it instantly transmits all your vi- tal healthcare data directly to the doctor—be- fore you even get to the exam room. After a brief chat with the doctor, you are sent on your way with a clean bill of health, and this is all accomplished during your lunch break. This is the future potential of flexible elec- tronics in wearable medical devices: to free both patient and doctor from the bulky and unwieldy technology of the past. When most of us think of electronics on a PCB, we think of a rigid, stiff device. However, advances in elec- tronics, flexible materials and technology are driving development of new wearable electron- ics that can bend and fold just like paper. by Gary Baker nYPro Wearable Electronics: The Shape-Shifting Future of Medical Devices f e a t u r e C o l u m n aim higher

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