A safe, wearable soft sensor

Children born prematurely frequently develop neuromotor and cognitive developmental disabilities. The easiest method to lessen the impacts of individuals disabilities would be to catch them early through a number of cognitive and motor tests. But precisely calculating and recording the motor functions of young children is hard. Just like any parent will explain, toddlers have a tendency to dislike putting on bulky devices on their own hands and also have a predilection for ingesting things they should not.


Harvard College scientific study has created a soft, non-toxic wearable sensor that unobtrusively attaches towards the hands and measures the pressure of the grasp and also the motion from the hands and fingers.

The study was printed in Advanced Functional Materials and it is a cooperation between your Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Systems (SEAS), The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Janet Israel Deaconess Clinic, and Boston Children's Hospital.

One novel aspect of the sensor is really a non-toxic, highly conductive liquid solution.

"We've created a new kind of conductive liquid that's forget about harmful than the usual small drop of brine," stated Siyi Xu, a graduate student at SEAS and first author from the paper. "It's four occasions more conductive than previous biocompatible solutions, resulting in cleaner, calmer data."

Harvard's Office of Technology Development has filed a portfolio of ip concerning the architecture of novel soft sensors and it is seeking commercialization possibilities of these technologies.

The sensing solution is made of potassium iodide, that is a common nutritional supplement, and glycerol, that is a common food additive. Following a short mixing period, the glycerol breaks the very structure of potassium iodide and forms potassium cations (K ) and iodide ions (I-), making the liquid conductive. Because glycerol includes a lower evaporation rate than water, and also the potassium iodide is extremely soluble, the liquid is both stable across a variety of temperatures and humidity levels and highly conductive.

"Previous biocompatible soft sensors happen to be made using sodium chloride-glycerol solutions however these solutions have low conductivities, making the sensor data very noisy, and in addition it takes about 10 hrs to organize," stated Xu. "We have shortened that lower to around twenty minutes and obtain very clean data."

The style of the sensors also takes the necessity of children into consideration. As opposed to a bulky glove, the plastic-rubber sensor sits on the top from the finger as well as on the finger pad.

"We frequently observe that children who're born early or who've been identified as having early developmental disorders have highly sensitive skin," stated Eugene Goldfield, coauthor from the study as well as an Affiliate Professor within the Enter in Behavior Sciences at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard School Of Medicine and Affiliate Faculty Person in the Wyss Institute at Harvard College. "By sticking with the top finger, this product gives accurate information whilst getting round the sensitively from the child's hands."

Goldfield may be the Principal investigator from the Flexible Electronics for Toddlers project in the Wyss Institute, which designs modular automatic systems for toddlers born prematurely and in danger of cerebral palsy.

Goldfield and the colleagues presently study motor function while using Motion Capture Lab at SEAS and Wyss. While motion capture will easily notice a great deal about movement, it can't measure pressure, that is important to diagnosing neuromotor and cognitive developmental disabilities.

"Early diagnosis is the specific game with regards to treating these developmental disabilities which wearable sensor can provide us lots of advantages not presently available," stated Goldfield.

This paper only tested the unit on adult hands. Next, they intend to scale lower the unit and test drive it around the hands of kids.

"The opportunity to evaluate complex human motions provides for us an unparalleled diagnostic tool," states Take advantage of Wood, the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Systems at SEAS, Founding Core Faculty Person in the Wyss Institute, and senior author from the study. "The concentrate on the growth and development of motor skills in toddlers presents unique challenges for the way to integrate many sensors right into a small, lightweight, and inconspicuous wearable device. These new sensors solve these challenges -- and when we are able to create wearable sensors for this type of demanding task, we feel this may also open applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, human-computer interfaces, and virtual reality."

These studies was co-created by Daniel M. Vogt, Wen-Hao Hsu, John Osborne, Timothy Walsh, Jonathan R. Promote, Sarah K. Sullivan, Vincent C. Cruz and Andreas Rousing. It had been based on the nation's Institutes of Health.