Custom electronic patches on-demand

July 12, 2019 //By Julien Happich
electronic patches
A team of researchers at the Robotics Institute and the Department of Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University has elaborated a novel design method to easily create customized electronic patches that fit specific functional requirements while conforming to any given body part.

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.

A multi-layer fabrication method to integrate multiple
electronic modules into one laminate.

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.

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