Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 29

SOLUTIONS FOR MEDICAL
1 cm
The sheet-type piezoelectric system. Accurate biomonitoring is possible
without being noticed; the ultrathin and soft sheet system realizes attachment
of the device to the skin. (Credit: Osaka University)
As wearable technology and smart sensors become increasingly
popular, the problem of providing power to all of these
devices become more relevant. While the energy requirements
of each component may be modest, the need for wires or even
batteries become burdensome and inconvenient. That is why
new energy harvesting methods are needed. Also, the ability
for integrated health monitors to use ambient motion to both
power and activate sensors will help accelerate their adoption
in doctor's offices.
Now, an international team of researchers from Japan and
Austria has invented new ultraflexible patches with a ferroelectric
polymer that can not only sense a patient's pulse and blood
pressure, but also power themselves from normal movements.
The key was starting with a substrate just 1 μm thick. Using a
strong electric field, ferroelectric crystalline domains in a
copolymer were aligned so that the sample had a large electric
dipole moment. Based on the piezoelectric effect, which is very
efficient in converting natural motion into small electric voltages,
the device responds rapidly to strain or pressure changes.
These voltages can be transduced either into signals for the
medical sensors or to directly harvest the energy (see Figure 1).
" Our e-health patches may be employed as part of screening
for lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disorders, signs of
stress, and sleep apnea, " says Andreas Petritz, first author on
the paper.
The authors estimate that multilayer patches can harvest up to
200 mJ per day from biomechanical motions if placed on joints,
like knees or elbows. This is enough to monitor cardiovascular
parameters several times a day. And the patches are so thin that
they are barely perceptible thus making a necessary evil for many
patients - daily health monitoring - less unpleasant.
" We expect that our findings will assist in the development of
other sheet-type sensor systems that can perform precise biomonitoring
when affixed to the skin surface, " says Tsuyoshi Sekitani,
senior author. Additional modules allow other features, such as
wireless communication with a smartphone or computer.
The article, " Imperceptible energy harvesting device and biomedical
sensor based on ultraflexible ferroelectric transducers
and organic diodes, " was published in Nature Communications at
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22663-6.
For more information, visit https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp.
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29
http://info.hotims.com/79414-800 https://www.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22663-6 https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp

Medical Design Briefs - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Medical Design Briefs - June 2021

Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov4
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1a
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1b
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - 3
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - June 2021 - CovIV
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