Integration of printed sensors to flexible hybrid electronics for wearable health monitoring

Overview of a wearable sensor platform, where flexible sensors are utilized for real-time health monitoring.

A skin-like flexible and wearable sensor patch, seamlessly measuring body’s vital signs - realizing this device is a major goal of my doctoral work. My research focuses mainly on the system-level implementation of wearable medical devices, with an emphasis on flexible and printed bioelectronic and biophotonic sensors.

Wearable and flexible sensors are promising for medical sensing because they provide an improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by establishing a conformal skin-sensor interface [1]. Moreover, in my work, printing techniques are used to fabricate the sensors, which ensures large-area scaling of the devices. Additionally with the rapid prototyping capability of printing, the sensors can be designed in different sizes and shapes, accommodating the needs of a diverse population.

An overview and system design of the wearable sensor patch (WSP) enabled by flexible hybrid electronics. The sensor side faces down toward the skin, and the component side faces up. The printed gold ECG electrodes and the thermistor are shown.

A flexible power source integrating a lithium-ion battery and amorphous silicon solar module for powering wearable health monitoring devices.

Flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) are a fundamental enabling technology for system-level implementation of novel printed and flexible devices. FHE bring together soft and hard electronics into a single platform, where the soft devices are used for conformal sensor interfaces, and the hard silicon-based devices provide the computational backbone and compatibility with existing electronic systems and standards. The interfacing of soft and hard electronics is a key challenge for flexible hybrid electronics.

For a project in collaboration with Binghamton University, i3 Electronics, Lockheed Martin, and American Semiconductor, we demonstrated a single substrate interfacing approach, where soft devices, i.e., sensors, are directly printed on Kapton polyimide substrates that are widely used for fabricating flexible printed circuit boards (FPCBs). Utilizing a process flow compatible with the FPCB assembly process, a wearable sensor patch was fabricated composed of inkjet-printed gold ECG electrodes and a stencil-printed nickel oxide thermistor [2]. In another project, for powering wearable health monitoring devices, we demonstrated a flexible power source by integrating a lithium-ion battery and amorphous silicon solar module [3].

Relevant publications:

  1. Monitoring of Vital Signs with Flexible and Wearable Medical Devices Yasser Khan, Aminy E. Ostfeld, Claire M. Lochner, Adrien Pierre, and Ana C. Arias Advanced Materials, 2016 28, 22. [Abstract] [Bibtex] [PDF]
  1. Flexible Hybrid Electronics: Direct Interfacing of Soft and Hard Electronics for Wearable Health Monitoring Yasser Khan, Mohit Garg, Qiong Gui, Mark Schadt, Abhinav Gaikwad, Donggeon Han, Natasha A. D. Yamamoto, Paul Hart, Robert Welte, William Wilson, Steve Czarnecki, Mark Poliks, Zhanpeng Jin, Kanad Ghose, Frank Egitto, James Turner, and Ana C. Arias Advanced Functional Materials, 2016 26, 47. [Abstract] [Bibtex] [PDF]
  1. High-performance flexible energy storage and harvesting system for wearable electronics Aminy E. Ostfeld, Abhinav M. Gaikwad, Yasser Khan, and Ana C. Arias Scientific Reports, 2016 6, 26122. [Abstract] [Bibtex] [PDF]

Last modified: 2018-01-02