Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 31

Soft Sensing Device Detects Skin Disorders Based on
Tissue Stiffness
The strain-sensing sheet
detects disorders in real
time.
City University of Hong Kong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Putting a piece of soft, strain- sensing
sheet on the skin may be able to detect
skin disorders noninvasively and in realtime
very soon. A research team co-led
by a scientist from City University of
Hong Kong (CityU) has designed a simple
electromechanical device that can
be used for deep tissue pathology diagnosis,
such as psoriasis, in an automated
and noninvasive fashion. The findings
will lay a foundation for future
applications in the clinical evaluation
of skin cancers and other dermatology
diseases.
The research is co-led by Dr. Yu Xinge,
Assistant Professor from CityU's Depart -
ment of Biomedical Engineering, and
scientists from and Northwestern
University in the United States. Their
findings have been published in the science
journal Nature Biomedical Engin -
eering, titled " Miniaturized electromechanical
devices for the characterization
of the biomechanics of deep tissue. "
Electromechanical
systems
that en -
able precise, rapid measurements of the
stiffness of soft tissues of the human
body can provide useful clinical information
for monitoring, diagnosing, and
treating various pathologies, particularly
those of the skin. However, existing diagnostic
evaluations, for example, magnetic
resonance elastography, usually in -
volve huge instruments at hospitals and
trained practitioners. And the latest
tissue stiffness-measuring technology
based on sensing can only measure to
superficial depths of upper skin, up to
micron scale.
To address the issue, the research
team designed a simple, miniature
electromechanical device for highprecision,
real-time evaluations of deep
tissue stiffness. The team used a miniature
electromagnetic system that integrates
a vibratory actuator and a soft
strain-sensing sheet to monitor in realtime
the Young's modulus, i.e., the tensile
stiffness, of skin and other soft biological
tissues at depths of approxiMedical
Design Briefs, July 2021
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mately 1-8 mm, depending on the sensor
designs.
The team evaluated the device's performance
with a range of synthetic and
biological materials, such as hydrogels,
pigskin, and on various parts of human
skin (see Figure 1). " The lesions exhibited
higher stiffness than those of the
nearby skin, primarily due to differences
in skin elasticity and hydration.
These simple measurements have
potential clinical significance in rapidly
identifying and targeting skin
lesions, with capabilities that complement
those of recently reported methods
for sensing mechanical properties
È
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Medical Design Briefs - July 2021

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

Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Cov4
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 3
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 4
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 5
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - 6
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Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - July 2021 - Cov4a
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