Wireless Flexible Electronics For Biomedical Applications
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentElectrical and Computer Engineering
ProgramDoctor of Engineering
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Miniaturized wireless biomedical devices have the potential to revolutionize medical practice, spawning a new era for affordable health-giving gadgets. Flexible electronics are therefore pivotal in enabling wireless medical applications for mobile physiological monitoring. This body of work introduces the world's first wireless, flexible, integrated solution for biomedical applications. A framework for a modular design was implemented. The outcome was a first-of-a-kind, flexible and stretchable antenna integrated with a biosensor, and mounted directly onto human skin. Moreover, the integrated solution has been validated through rigorous system-level testing. The prototype framework has an easy-to-modify analog front-end for various biomedical applications. Examples include patient-compliance verification, electrocardiography (EKG), and physiological monitoring. Communication with the sensor was facilitated by a Bluetooth transceiver and a smartphone. Captured physiological signals are uploaded to the cloud for data analysis. This ecosystem was designed as an interactive tool for end-users to manage a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the system enables real-time feedback between the user and their medical provider. The stage after prototype testing was system miniaturization. Antennas integrated into biomedical systems for such applications are still in their developmental stage. In this dissertation, a novel method that embeds a flexible antenna and a sensor into an FDA-approved skin-adhesive was implemented. The design enables ease of packaging, sensor application to skin, and tuning of the antenna to enable optimum data transmission to a smartphone app. The antenna was tuned for different materials and curvatures for various medical applications. The ability of a flexible antenna to transmit while in contact with human skin was successfully demonstrated. The system robustly communicates to a smartphone with coverage of up to 175 ft. This work exhibits the last critical ingredient of integrating a fully flexible wireless transceiver, making its utility possible for digital health applications.