SkyWater Technology Inc. said last week it has been hired to manufacture temperature-sensing chips that can be used in wearable patches to look for symptoms of coronavirus.
The patches will first be distributed by Upward Health, a medical group based in Providence, R.I.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
For Bloomington-based SkyWater, a contract manufacturer that runs the largest semiconductor plant in Minnesota, the contract shows its ability to quickly respond to a client’s innovation and accelerated production goals.
“Given the opportunity to address a critical need that has national interest, we were able to respond with rapid development of this vital temperature sensing solution in a U.S. manufacturing facility,” Tom Sonderman, SkyWater’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The chip is designed by Linear ASICs Inc., a fabless semiconductor firm based in Tallmadge, Ohio.
The project is backed by Asymmetric Return Capital, an investment firm based in New York.
The financial firm is also investing in wearable pulse oximeters.
The companies are aiming to roll out the patches by late June.
Shaped like a small, circular bandage, the patch monitors body temperatures and sends data wirelessly to a smartphone.
“Now that temperature checks are becoming ubiquitous in return-to-work policies, a domestic supply of low-cost, no-touch thermometers is critical,” Bryan Wisk, founding partner of Asymmetric Return Capital, said in a statement.
“SkyWater and Linear ASICs have enabled us to develop a high volume of wireless temperature sensing tags that can remotely monitor temperature and keep those with symptoms at home,” he added.
The executives said they expect health monitoring products to become more widely used in coming months as people return to work, school and public places when the virus toll starts to wane.
The investment firm, Linear ASICs and SkyWater have been working together for more than a year on a U.S.-based technology development and manufacturing consortium focused on rapid product development.
The temperature patch project came together in part because of complementary technologies the firms had developed for wireless batteries and wearable products, the firms said.