They presented their results during the latest conference of Human-Computer Interaction (CHI 2019) in a paper titled “ElectroDermis: Fully Untethered, Stretchable, and Highly-Customizable Electronic Bandages”, demonstrating electronic bandages that could be re-used over times by simply replacing the underlying medical grade and breathable adhesive ﬁlm.
For their configurable electronic bandages, dubbed ElectroDermis, the researchers combined islands of small electronic circuits electrically wired together with flexible copper-clad film patterned into meandering conductive traces. The whole assembly is then press glued into cut-out shapes of stretchable fabric (spandex) specifically designed to conform to various body parts in 3D.
Most of the work here, relates to the actual design of 3D capable origami-based shapes that can be easily cut-out in 2D layers for ease of bandage assembly and fabrication.
For this purpose, the authors created an interactive design tool that lets end users select a target body region (say the elbow, the knee, the neck, the wrist etc..) from a predeﬁned 3D model of the human body or a 3D scan of the wearer. The tool then leverages origami-based ﬂattening algorithms to parametrically cut and ﬂatten the 3D shape with minimal distortion.
Once the 2D contour and cut-outs (for some of the folds) are obtained, the laser-cut fabric, stretchable wiring and electronic components can all be laminated into one bandage, with a foil of adhesive later affixed to interface with the wearer’s skin.
The researchers were able to demonstrate various combinations of sensors, serial communication, and batteries to yield an untethered on-skin wearable device stretchable enough to resemble electronic bandages. Each patch was built around an ARM Cortex-M4F processor for on-board signal processing and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) radio for wireless interactive control. Using their proprietary tool, they were able to customize any electronic bandage in less than an hour, creating a number of wearable designs such as a temperature mask, vital monitoring earrings with pulse rate detection, a context-sensitive necklace (tracking food intake via high-ﬁdelity acceleration and sound monitoring at the neck), a knee-worn motion tracker, a wound monitor (featuring a camera and a LED) and an environment-aware colour mirroring bracelet.
Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University – www.cmu.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering