In a new study conducted by the University of Binghamton and the State University of New York, scientists have proposed a method of processing CDs, and experts have tried to convert them into flexible biosensors, inexpensive and simple to manufacture.
In an article published in Nature Communications, scientists described how a thin metal layer of a gold CD can be separated from rigid plastic, and then turned into sensors to monitor electrical activity in human hearts and muscles, as well as lactate, glucose, pH and oxygen levels. The sensors can interact with the smartphone via Bluetooth.
It is noteworthy that the production of one sensor takes 20-30 minutes and the cost of the device is about $1.50. The process itself does not involve the release of toxic chemicals and the need to use expensive equipment. According to the article, "This sustainable treatment of electronic waste does not require advanced micro-production capacity, expensive materials or high-end engineering skills".
Previous CD biosensors studies have shown that these sensors retain too rigid a structure and have a limited number of applications. The innovation of scientists is to remove metal coatings from the plastic below by chemical process and adhesive tape.
In order to create sensors, researchers used Cricut Cutter, a ready machine for craftsmen. It is used to carve drawings on paper, vinyl, cardboard paper, and more than that. The flexible circuits were then removed and put on the person. Using a smartphone application, health workers or patients can obtain readings from ready sensors and monitor progress in treatment over time.