Enhancing Medical Devices and Personal Healthcare Products with Force Sensing Technology
The medical field presents special challenges to equipment manufacturers. High reliability is an essential characteristic of equipment and instrumentation that may be used in life-or-death situations. This, in turn, places similar reliability requirements on every component used in the manufacture of such equipment, particularly the electro-mechanical components that constitute the Human-Machine Interface (HMI). One category of HMI components is the force sensor -- a component that is also used widely in the related and rapidly expanding market for personal healthcare monitoring devices. Sensor devices collectively provide the technology that underlies the recently coined term 'Quantified Self'.
Interlink Electronics, the company that introduced and patented the first force-sensing resistor devices almost 30 years ago, has just published a White Paper that examines current applications of these devices in medical and healthcare products. The paper reviews the history of sensors since the early twentieth century and shows how evolving sensor technologies may eventually allow individuals to continually monitor the state of their own health, automatically communicating important data to their healthcare providers. Current research cited in the paper suggests that this may be the key to controlling the ever-increasing cost of the healthcare system.