"In 2014, the global market for biochemical sensors alone is over $8.8 billion dollars."
Printed electronics for healthcare and beauty encompasses stretchable, flexible, conformal and sometimes biodegradable electronics and electrics. It is very thin and lightweight, even in hybrid constructions that, for now, incorporate conventional integrated circuits (IC), light emitting diodes (LED) and other chips in a partly printed device in order to perform functions not yet possible with entirely printed surfaces. Saving up to 40% of cost, space and weight and making new things possible are typical achievements. This is the only up to date, comprehensive report on this rapidly emerging technology and covers; electronic medical implants, patches, disposables, and drug and cosmetic dispensing: stretchable, flexible, wide area, low cost, disposable electronics. It looks at how technologies such as NFC are impacting healthcare provision.
Printed and potentially printed thin film electronics provides many benefits in healthcare and beauty including low cost in many cases, even to the point of disposability, and greatly enhanced functionality in other cases. Frequently, it makes new things possible. It does this in two ways. It is the basis of totally new components relying on new physical principles, examples including metamaterials and memristors. Secondly it makes possible the creation of new devices such as self-powered implants that never need a battery to be replaced. Battery replacement by surgical procedure causes up to 3% of fatalities.
All this addresses the modern needs of healthcare in the private house and on-the-go and more effective, affordable healthcare and beauty products that are easier to use, unobtrusive, greener, automatic and safer. The greying of the population and lack of staff and facilities for conventional healthcare are addressed.
This new technology takes an increasing variety of forms from implants to smart skin patches, radio frequency identification (RFID) and smart packaging. The human interface is improved with sound, moving images, light emitting graphics and so on. Other functions achieved are as widely different as automatic drug delivery and anticounterfeiting. Multiple benefits are commonplace. In a drug trial, recording which pill was removed, when, and plotting this helps patients to do better - get well sooner - and reduces the amount of corrupt data.
Market value US$ million 2013*
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Printed electronics is therefore helping to prevent sickness and reduce errors, drive down costs and crime and improve product performance. For the user, it makes life easier, safer and more enjoyable. To the supplier, it is an opportunity to finally nail supply chain inefficiencies to increase market share and profit. Sometimes, it can justify premium pricing and reinvigorate brands, partly with packaging that becomes part of the product in a more meaningful way and with much more sophisticated, relevant electronic rewards incorporated. On the other hand, a niche product such as a medical instrument can become a volume product usable by almost anyone.
This profusely illustrated report takes a very broad view of the subject so the reader does not miss commercial opportunities because of the relatively narrow focus of the research community. Tables and charts compare the technical, market and other options, navigate the jargon and reveal trends. Leveraging the large IDTechEx database on the subject, its coverage in relevant IDTechEx events and a wide range of personal contacts reinforced by intensive travel, the subject is brought alive without equations or obscure science but with the fruits of research by the highly qualified and experienced IDTechEx team.
The technologies of printed, stretchable, flexible, biodegradable, implantable and wide area electronics and electrics for healthcare and beauty with a profusion of case studies of their development and application to a wide variety of needs with summaries of market drivers.
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Examples of needs satisfied by printed electronics
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