Conformal Electronics for Human Electrophysiological Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Conformal electronics are envisioned as the next generation of wearable sensor node. They attach directly to the skin as a 'temporary tattoo' and can provide very high quality and very long term measures of body parameters. This project is creating Silver and Graphene printed sensors for flexible and conformal substrates. These may find use as temperature sensors for monitoring Diabetic foot ulcers, as long term heart monitors in embedded in T-shirts with improved wash-ability compared to previous approaches, or in non-invasive brain monitors. The key technical challenge is in the sensor node design and maintaining sensitivity, noise performance and longevity while minimising the amount of printed material to speed up and personalise the manufacturing.

Publications

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Beach C (2018) Optimizing Energy Harvesting for Foot Based Wearable Sensors. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

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Beach C (2018) Performance of graphene ECG electrodes under varying conditions. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

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Beach C (2019) A Graphene-Based Sleep Mask for Comfortable Wearable Eye Tracking. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

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Beach C (2018) Performance of graphene ECG electrodes under varying conditions. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

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Beach C (2018) Optimizing Energy Harvesting for Foot Based Wearable Sensors. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1830714 Studentship EP/N509565/1 21/09/2016 31/03/2020 Christopher Beach
 
Description Part 1, Diabetic Foot Ulcers:
A device was designed and fabricated to measure the temperature at the sole of the foot in participants with diabetes. The device was used to measure temperature in the feet in participants with diabetes and, as a comparison, a healthy control group. No significant temperature differences between the groups were found, but difference in the time constants between the diabetic and healthy participants were found.

Part 2, Energy Harvesting:
Estimations of the energy that can be harvested with a kinetic energy harvester across the body were found. The amount of energy that can be harvested from the foot is around 12 times the amount that can be harvested from the wrist. It was also found that the energy harvesting at the wrist is more sensitive to changes in walking speed compared to the foot. Previous work has used the ankle as a proxy location for estimating energy harvesting at the foot, but this has been found to be inappropriate as both more energy can be harvested from the foot, and the foot is less sensitive to changes in cadence affecting energy harvesting output.

Part 3, Flexible Electronics:
A new wrist worn wearable with over a month of battery life for heart rate monitoring through the ECG was developed. This device is also able to extract some heart rate variability features, and can be customised to the user.
New methods for manufacturing printed graphene were investigated for their ability to record ECG, EEG and EOG waveforms in a wearable/textile form factor. It was found that the graphene-based materials were generally suitable for this task, although they have lower signal-to-noise ratios compared to conventional materials (ie. Ag/AgCl), they offer better comfort for the user.
Exploitation Route Part 1, Diabetic Foot Ulcers:
Further research into the rate of temperature change at the foot to identify if this is a precursor to the development of a diabetic foot ulcers as this has not been previously investigated.
Indications of the recommended minimum sample size for future research into measuring diabetic foot ulcers.

Part 2, Energy Harvesting:
Wearable devices can be made with energy harvesters at the foot to take advantage of the extra energy available at this location compared to conventional device locations at the wrist.
The ankle should not be assumed to be a suitable proxy for the foot when estimating the output in energy harvesting from the foot

Part 3, Flexible Electronics:
Usage of graphene-based materials in consumer devices to allow 'out of the hospital monitoring' of various health conditions by recording the ECG, EEG and EOG from these new materials.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description EPSRC eFutures grant to attend IEEE UKCAS Workshop
Amount £50 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2019 
End 12/2019
 
Description IET Travel Award
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation Institution of Engineering and Technology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Description University of Manchester Presidents Doctoral Scholar
Amount £3,500 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 03/2020
 
Title SPHERE wrist ECG Data 
Description Data collected using the newly developed SPHERE ECG wrist device described in our published paper in IEEE Access (https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2864675) 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Data shows how ECG data can be collected from the wrist with a very low power budget. 
URL https://data.mendeley.com/datasets/tzfmydyzch/1
 
Title Energy Harvesting MATLAB Toolbox 
Description A MATLAB GUI tool for modelling an inertial energy harvester and storage device. It allows the user to load a dataset of accelerometer data and to modify the harvester parameters to identify the power waveforms from this harvester. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The GUI and dataset help designers specify the energy budgets of their wearable devices. 
 
Description IET Faraday Challenge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Assisted in the running of the IET Faraday Challenge Activity at the University of Manchester. Focused on widening participation schools and engaging them with engineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://faraday-secondary.theiet.org/faraday-challenge-days/
 
Description Japan IoT Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation at the the UK embassy in Tokyo Japan in the Joint UK/Japan IoT workshop to academics and experts from industry as well as representatives from embassies in Japan and the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Outreach Workshop at St. Annes Primary School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Delivered an outreach workshop to a Primary school class at St. Annes Primary School in Sale, Manchester.
Talked about my research and delivered an Engineers Without Borders UK workshop on 'Power for Everyone Everywhere'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation to EEG research group, Fudan University, China. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Discussions of potential collaboration opportunities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to IEC working group 119 (printed electronics) and 124 (wearable electronics), Manchester, UK. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on printed electronics at the University of Manchester for the IEC standards committee. Input into shaping future standards for wearable devices, with a follow on conference to be held in Manchester in 2020 as a result of this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ScienceX 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Science outreach events on "paper circuits" showing how simple electronics can be made flexible.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Singapore A-Level Outreach Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Members of research group including myself gave presentations about our research to prospective students to the University of Manchester visiting from Singapore.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Stand on Brain-Computer Interfacing at the Intu Trafford Centre as part of the "ScienceX" festival. An estimated 3000 visitors. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hands on brain-computer interfacing demo.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018