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Wearable electronic aims to help those with depression

The development comes from Fraunhofer FEP. The company has been looking into design shapes, colours and sizes relating to OLEDs. An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is a type of light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is composed of a film of organic compound. This compound emits light in response to an electric current.

Recent research has explored the use of OLEDs in medical applications, centered on light therapy. This type of therapy appears particularly effective with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that occurs from autumn to winter. People affected tend to feel tired, less motivated and tend to sleep for longer compared with the normal population.

Some medics suggest that OLED lights are suitable for light therapy. As an example, scientists from Northumbria University and PolyPhotonix developed a new OLED-based “sleep mask” that can be used to treat sight loss noninvasively. Moreover, in 2008 OLED was suggested as a treatment for skin cancer.

Fraunhofer FEP recently demonstrated a wearable OLED bracelet at the Wearables Europe 2018 convention, which took place between April 11 and-12 in Berlin, Germany. The aim, through red and yellow OLEDs, is to create a positive effect through warm OLED light to help to treat depression.

Fraunhofer FEP aims to introduce a new type of OLED wristband shortly. This will be one of the first wearable products marketed with flexible organic electronics fitted. Fraunhofer FEP worked on the anode deposition on barrier web, and the OLED-deposition by using an evaporation processes. Following this, the Finnish company VTT incorporated the ready-made OLED into a bracelet. VTT also configured the compact power supply for the complete system.

Speaking with Smart2Zero, Markus Tuomikoski of VTT, describes the integration process further: w “We used injection molded structural electronics for the integration of the OLED. To meet the demands of a wearable device, the conception and realization of a compact power supply system was necessary.”

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He adds: “In the end we realized a combination of flexible electronics and flexible OLED within our plastic molded bracelet.” This took the form of injection molding of electronics with thermoplastics, which enables cost-efficient manufacturing of functional 3D structures of the type suited to healthcare wearables.

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