The scientists have introduced a soft pressure sensor for measuring health indicators, which include pulse and blood pressure as well as the pressure of other body parts.
FREMONT, CA: The medical industry is rapidly transforming with the sensors-embedded innovations charging in. Recently, a highly sensitive wearable pressure sensor has been developed by researchers with the purpose of monitoring health applications.
The technology holds the potential of sensitive, accurate, and constant measurement of physiological and physical signals and demonstrates the potential for health monitoring applications and the early treatment of diseases.
To be hired for constant health monitoring, a soft pressure sensor needs to possess high compliance, sensitivity, long-term performance stability, low cost, and environmental stability. Traditional solid-state soft pressure sensors that used functional materials, including graphene and carbon nanotubes, have undergone restricted stretchability, long-term instability, and signal drifting because of the distance between the functional materials and the stretchable substrate.
The researchers introduced liquid-state electronics that use liquid metal for multiple wearable applications to curb these issues. Galinstan, one of these materials, is a eutectic metal alloy of gallium, tin, and indium, which has flawless mechanical and electrical properties that can be applied in wearable applications. However, the low-pressure sensitivity of the current liquid metal-based pressure sensors restricts their implementation in health monitoring devices.
Researchers have developed a 3D-printed, firm microbump array-incorporated, liquid-based soft pressure sensor (3D-BLiPS). 3D printing helps in the incorporation of a firm microbump array, and the master mold for a liquid metal microchannel can be obtained while minimizing the intricacy of the manufacturing process. Due to the incorporation of the microchannel and the rigid microbump, the pressure sensor has significantly low detection limits and improved pressure sensitivity in comparison to earlier reported liquid metal-based pressure sensors. Additionally, the proposed sensor possesses a negligible signal draft over 10,000 pressure cycles, bending, and stretching and exhibited flawless stability when subjected to multiple environmental conditions.
These performance features and attributes make the sensor suitable for health monitoring devices. The research team also presented a wearable wristband device that is capable of constantly monitor one’s pulse during exercise and be applied in a noninvasive cuffless blood pressure monitoring system according to the pulse transit time (PTT) calculations. Also, a wireless wearable heel pressure monitoring system has been introduced by them, which can integrate three 3D-BLiPS with a wireless communication module.
The researchers are anticipating using this system in health care applications like the prevention and the monitoring of pressure-driven diseases like pressure ulcers in the upcoming future.
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