An innovation that turns damaged CDs into medical sensors

date of publication:
26 Jul 2022 16:39 GMT

Update date: 26 July 2022 18:45 GMT

US researchers have been able to turn commonly used audio CDs into biomedical sensors that monitor patients’ health status in real time.

The innovation, carried out by researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering from Binghamton University and New York State University, aims to “dispose of the huge tons of electronic waste that has been continuously dumped around the world for decades, and has resulted in serious environmental disasters.”

simple operation

The process is carried out by “removing the thin metal layer that includes gold paint from the piece of plastic in the CDs, and then reshaping this layer into biomedical sensors,” according to the “Newswise” website for scientific news, today, Tuesday.

“The first step in the process is to remove the gold metallic coating from the plastic layer using a chemical process, and attach it to an adhesive tape,” said Ahyun Koh, a researcher involved in the study.

“This gold metallic coating is then processed until it becomes flexible and usable as a biosensor,” Koh added.

She noted that “the manufacturing process is completed in 20 to 30 minutes without the release of toxic chemicals or the need for expensive equipment.”

sensor action

To create the sensors from waste CDs, the researchers used a machine commonly used to cut wood and cardboard to make cards.

For his part, said Matthew Brown, the study’s lead author, “These sensors connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth.”

And he indicated that “it can monitor the health status of patients in real time, from the electrical activity in the heart and muscles, as well as the levels of glucose and oxygen in the blood.”

Without engineering skills

The research team revealed that “anyone can create these sensors from waste CDs, by learning the steps of manufacturing them in just one day, as they do not need engineering skills.”

After the success of their experiments, the researchers seek to use a laser engraving machine instead of a wood cutting machine, in order to increase the speed of recycling waste CDs even more.

They also aspire to improve the performance of the sensors for mass production.

The research team is also exploring a way to convert the world’s most popular silver CDs into a new, usable device.