Medical Wearables, Stick to Skin Biosensors, and Transdermal Patches

What are Medical Wearables, Stick-to-Skin Biosensors, and Transdermal Patches and Why Does it Matter?

Wearable medical solutions, including wearable devices, biosensors and transdermal patches improve patient diagnosis and treatment while reducing healthcare costs. They enable monitoring and drug delivery outside of clinical settings.

What are Medical Wearables and Stick-to Skin Biosensors?

Medical Wearable Devices are sensors specifically designed to measure a person’s biometric data like vitals, physical activity, or other physiological measurements, and are worn by the user. These devices can be disposable or durable. Disposable adhesive biosensors are self-contained with every component needed to sense and transmit patient data for a few days or weeks. Durable medical wearables feature a disposable cradle for the durable electronic device that lasts longer than a single adhesive patch.

What are Transdermal Patches?

Transdermal patches deliver medication on a wearable patch where the patient absorbs medication through their skin. Transdermal patches enable extended-release pharmaceutical delivery with comfortable long-lasting skin adhesives.

Why Boyd for Medical Wearable Devices?

Boyd’s clean room capabilities and process innovation ensure the highest quality assemblies with high yield rates and minimal raw material waste to manage overall costs.

We match the right medical-grade materials to meet your specific application requirements and recommend design improvements for better manufacturability.

We cost-effectively source the best-fit materials for patient comfort and safety, healthcare provider efficiency, high reliability, and total cost management.

Leverage our broad manufacturing expertise to produce complete wearable devices and transdermal patches that reduce supply chain complexity.

Our global FDA compliant and ISO 13485 certified clean room facilities gives you regional flexibility for sourcing and manufacturing.

Medical Adhesive Tapes and Other Wearable Solutions

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Medical Devices: Essential Components for Medical Wearables

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The Boyd Difference in Medical Wearable Solutions

Boyd has decades of experience designing, manufacturing, and delivering medical wearables of all shapes and sizes with a focus on patient safety and medical efficacy. We take an integrated approach to wearable design to identify complimentary components that can be manufactured and delivered in a single assembly. With our extensive supplier relationships and innovative design support, we combine medical-grade adhesives, printed flex circuitry, injection-molded housings and components, integrated displays, switch technologies, and more to lower cost and streamline production.

Benefits of Medical Wearables:

Accelerated patient recovery with increased monitoring of prescribed activities, vitals, and other health events.

Enhanced diagnosis accuracy and speed.

Increased healthcare efficiency, convenience, customization, and cost management.

Improved diagnoses data with more frequent and consistent patient monitoring.

Better preventative care by identifying risks before they become critical.

Increased patient comfort and reduced healthcare staff workload by monitoring outside clinical environments.

Enables patients to take a more proactive role in personal health.

Ideal for insurers with reduced cost per patient.

Wearable Challenges:

Small size and thin profile of most wearable designs can limit battery size and lifespan.

Medical grade adhesives, printed circuitry, hydrogels, and other components can be costly when compared to similar, non-wearable medical devices.

Balancing water resistance and breathability for cover layers can be an engineering challenge.

Specialized adhesives must be biocompatible and maintain continuous contact with the skin throughout movement and exposure to the environment.

Wearable devices can have extensive required testing for patient safety and diagnostic efficacy to meet stringent standards.

Patient comfort is key, so solutions must not only stick to skin, but be lightweight and comfortable for the wearable period.

Types of Wearables

Wearable Biometric Monitoring Devices:

Biomedical wearable devices are medical sensors that track biometric markers and information for patient testing and monitoring. This broad category of wearable devices can measure heart rate, respiration, movement, temperature, and other biometric information for diagnostics, research, or personal health. Stack-ups usually include flex circuits, PCB and battery assemblies, housings, and stick-to-skin adhesives to gather information which is either saved locally on the wearable device or sent wirelessly to the cloud.

Examples include pulse oximetry devices, blood pressure monitors, continuous glucose monitors (CGM), heart rate monitoring, and sleep trackers.

Transdermal Patches:

Transdermal patches are wearable devices that deliver extended-release pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and other medicines. Transdermal patches are often worn for extended periods of time, so patient comfort, adhesive hold, and breathability are important concerns. Transdermal patch designers tailor them to specific applications to ensure that adhesives, sealing, and other components don’t negatively interact with the released medicines or chemicals.

Microfluidic Diagnostic Devices:

Microfluidic diagnostic devices are small, intricate medical wearables used to monitor glucose, metabolites, pH levels, and other biomarkers from blood, sweat, or other fluids at the molecular level. Microfluidic diagnostic devices include sensors that receive data from the user, and are often made up of many intricate layers, including cover films, cushioning layers, printed flex circuits, hydrogel electrodes, battery and PCB assemblies, and more.

Examples include blood glucose strips, diabetic testing, diagnostic tapes, and in-vitro diagnostic equipment.

Ground Dressing and Electrode Wearables:

Ground dressing and electrode wearables use electrodes and grounding contacts along with stick-to-skin adhesives to measure electrical impulses for diagnostics or transfer electronic pulses to the body for electrotherapy. Like wearable biomedical and diagnostic devices, these can include complex stack-ups, but always include electrodes for electrical current sensing or stimulation. Biocompatibility, durability, and patient comfort are the primary considerations for biomedical and electrode wearables as they are often worn over long periods of time.

Examples include electrocardiography (ECG/EKG), electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and electrotherapy devices.

Boyd’s Medical Expertise

Boyd’s medical converting and material expertise spans over 25 years. Our world class Quality Management Systems enable us to consistently fabricate high quality medical products for a broad range of applications. Through our FDA Registration, UL certified fabrication, and RoHS and REACH compliance, Boyd’s team is ready to support your most challenging medical wearable applications with reliability, repeatability, and traceability. We have experienced medical staff throughout operations, engineering, sourcing and customer success support personnel. Our qualified team can support your medical wearable device with thorough project management from concept to commercialization.

Global Support for Medical Manufacturing

Boyd’s medical design team spans six countries and three continents, leveraging seven ISO 13485 Certified manufacturing facilities worldwide. This team provides regulatory support through design, prototyping and manufacturing of Class I, II and III medical devices. Our design for excellence (DFx) services and rapid prototyping enable quick regulatory revisions and responsiveness through design, development and prototyping cycles. Our engineering and manufacturing team maintains deep knowledge and support for medical sterilization services in Class 100 to 10,000 Medical Cleanroom Manufacturing. We pride ourselves in our medical compliant processes and traceability from site to the work order level.

    Medical Material Science and Handling Expertise

    Cleanliness is critical for patient safety and medical wearable device reliability. Wearables must be free of foreign debris and contaminants to ensure the utmost quality. These devices adhere to skin, one of the most diverse and sensitive substrates to attach to. Medical Wearable Devices must feature specialty adhesives designed for patient comfort and reliable performance across a variety of skin types, including neonatal and geriatric, and a variety of skin conditions. Boyd maintains a variety of clean room environments in all key geographies with processes and protocols to handle and fabricate medical materials with increasing levels of cleanliness requirements:

    • Contaminant-free material storage and handling protocols
    • Cleanroom raw material slitting and preparation processes
    • Cleanroom advanced rotary converting manufacturing lines
    • Cleanroom flat bed converting manufacturing lines
    • Cleanroom cosmetic inspection
    • Class 100 clean rooms
    • Class 1000 (Class 1K) clean rooms
    • Class 10000 (Class 10K) clean rooms
    • Class 100000 (Class 100K) clean rooms
    • UV sensitive clean room manufacturing
    • Temperature sensitive material handling processes

    Cleanroom environments include ongoing monitoring to assure medical materials and medical wearable devices are contaminant-free and on-specification:

    • Filter installation leak testing
    • Airborne particle count testing
    • Airflow velocity testing
    • Temperature testing
    • Relative humidity testing
    • Light intensity level testing
    • Sound pressure level testing
    • Room pressurization testing

      Supply Chain Management

      The medical wearable device value chain is complex with many participants. Boyd helps simplify this landscape for you, delivering innovative solutions and differentiated performance at optimal total cost.

      We help raw material suppliers innovate material formulations and enhance material performance constantly. These high quality medical materials are available in large format rolls and sheets that we use to custom fabricate medical wearable designs. Boyd’s strategic supply relationships date over 50 years, with the leading raw material suppliers like 3M, tesa, and Nitto. We actively search for new, innovative materials that can help our customers differentiate their wearable devices by improving patient comfort, extending wearable material wear time, and optimizing wearable application for healthcare professionals.

      Leverage Boyd’s 15+ years of medical expertise to enhance your product.

      Key Wearables Terms to Know :

      Battery AdhesivesTapes that secure batteries near a display stack with high temperature-resistant adhesives. Increases product safety and extends battery life.
      Regulatory LabelsUL compliant regulatory labels assure high brand compliance, safety warnings, and traceability.
      Camera GasketCombined adhesive and film or foam that protects camera modules from water, vibration, and contaminants. Extends lifetime and improves performance.
      Capacitive Touch ModuleTactile interface surface that enables users to interact with a device via touch. Has been replacing traditional membrane switches, elastomers, and full travel keyboards as the primary input method on many product designs.
      Conductive Backlight HousingMechanical and thermally conductive structure that simultaneously supports the backlight unit and conducts heat away from the display to the ambient environment. Controlled backlight operating temperature maximizes color vivacity and display lifetime.
      Diffuser FilmSpecialized film that evenly distributes light across the screen. Optimizes full display visibility for better screen clarity, vivacity, and color trueness at a wider viewing angle.
      Display IntegrationMinimize engineering, design, and supply chain complexity with fully integrated subassemblies that include all display components, optical films, adhesives, and gaskets with a display housing and all connectors for streamlined assembly into your devices.
      Brightness Enhancement FilmSpecialized film that intensifies brightness, improves the user experience and display energy efficiency.
      EMI ShieldingShielding layer to reduce electronic malfunction susceptibility by blocking unwanted external electromagnetic waves to improve device and signal reliability. Eliminates internal display component cross talk.
      Foam AdhesivesPrevent cracked or separated screens with strong display adhesion to the device, cushioned to absorb shock and vibration.
      Front Frame Gaskets and SealsAdhesive (foam) gaskets that ruggedize the joint between displays and front glass panels. Cushions vibration and shock to extend life and improve customer satisfaction.
      (Graphite) Heat SpreadersThin, lightweight, thermally conductive material that spreads heat away from localized hot spots from high performance components. Maintains safe touch temperatures and prevents overheating.
      LCDLiquid Crystal Display
      Lightguide PanelPanel or film that concentrates and amplifies light from the backlight to the viewer. Improves display richness, sharpness, and efficiency.
      LEDLight Emitting Diode
      OLEDOrganic Light Emitting Diode
      Optically Clear Adhesives (OCAs)Optically clear adhesive that mechanically joins surfaces with a matching refractive index to reduce light loss between substrates and give the appearance of being optically clear or invisible. Maximizes display clarity.
      Protective FilmFilms intended to prevent screen scratches or cracking during manufacturing, logistics, assembly, temporary consumer use, or durable long term protection.
      Reflector FilmsA display enhancement film that reflect light through the display, concentrating all generated display module light toward the viewer. More light reaching the user maximizes energy efficiency, display vivacity, and color trueness. In addition, by reflecting light back to the user, it minimizes light heating up and degrading components behind the display.
      Segmented Frame Display Bonding GasketBoyd-developed proprietary high volume manufacturing processes to cut four pieces of a display frame separately and assemble into one deliverable with zero gap joint tolerances for waterproofing and dimensional control.  Passes IP67 and push-out testing.  Enhanced sealing performance with best raw material utilization.
      Speaker MeshAcoustically transparent synthetic or woven metal mesh filters enable high quality audio while sealing out water and contaminants. Seal out water and particulates from devices with acoustically transparent filters for high quality speakers and microphones.
      Polarizer FilmA display enhancement film that boosts performance by transmitting one polarization and the other reflected light is recycled in the backlight.
      Security Films and Antiglare FilmsAnti-Glare & Security Films are display enhancement films that reduce the viewable angle of screens with specialized microlouvers that block light exiting from the sides of a screen or display, but around 60° of light in the middle viewing angle can freely reach viewers. Reducing glare and reflections are essential for displays used in varying lighting environment like consumer or emobility


      1 billion + skin contact grade products fabricated globally.

      One Decade + of supporting wearable device design and fabrication innovation.

      World Class customer support through extensive regulatory cycles, approvals, and ramp complexities.

      Decades long relationships with the world’s best material suppliers, getting customers the latest materials available.

      Continued capacity expansion, capability improvements, and process development.

      Have questions? We’re ready to help!