Acupuncture isn’t a field most people associate with high technology. But at KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) researchers have come up with an innovative way to make electro-acupuncture cheaper, easier and more accessible. The key: a lightweight polyester patch that tracks a patient’s reaction in real-time, on a smartphone or desktop app.

The patch, which is reusable, can replace pricy, bulky controllers and digital oscilloscopes. It’s powered by a specially-designed silicon chip, wireless connection and coin battery, among other components. But the patch’s main benefit is the ability to see a patient respond to treatment (via electromyography and body temperature, etc.) in real-time.

This smart acupuncture setup is the work of a KAIST electrical engineering Ph.D. student I met in Korea. He says he designed it with input from practicing acupuncturists and hopes it will popularize acupuncture in developing countries far beyond East Asia. The full story can be found at Fast Company’s Co.Exist site.