Flexible electronics and batteries point to a future in which many medical devices and body-worn monitors will come in the form of disposable adhesive patches. How will medical device design change in response?

For medical device designers, the control and feedback components of such devices will be the important area to focus on. Wireless communication will enable the control interface to be separate from the monitoring/therapeutic. The most obvious candidate for such an interface right now is the smart phone. Indeed, we have written in a number of previous blogs about how medical devices are being coupled with smart phones. But technology is constantly changing and the smart phone will evolve into something different. What might that be?

We are moving away from thinking about a phone that has intelligence. Rather, we are beginning to think about hand held computing devices that offer voice communication as just one of their many features. This is a paradigm shift. I believe that by thinking from the point of view of this new paradigm, we will be able to envision interface concepts that better harness the many new technologies that will be commercialized in the near future, medical device patches being just one of them.