Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Heart Monitoring E-Tattoo

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Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a stretchy, lightweight e-tattoo that can monitor the wearer's heart for extended periods of time. The device is more accurate than current electrocardiograph machines and could make heart monitoring easier. The team's research was recently published in the journal Advanced Science

 

“We can get much greater insight into heart health by the synchronous collection of data from both sources,” says lead engineer Nanshu Lu, an associate professor in the departments of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering.

 

This is the latest incarnation of the electronic tattoo technology, a graphene-based wearable device that can be placed on the skin to measure a variety of body responses, from electrical to biomechanical signals.
This is the latest incarnation of the electronic tattoo technology, a graphene-based wearable device that can be placed on the skin to measure a variety of body responses, from electrical to biomechanical signals.

From the University of Texas at Austin article: "The device is so lightweight and stretchable that it can be placed over the heart for extended periods with little or no discomfort. It also measures cardiac health in two ways, taking electrocardiograph and seismocardiograph readings simultaneously. Most of us are familiar with the electrocardiogram (ECG), a method that records the rates of electrical activity produced each time the heart beats. Seismocardiography (SCG) is a measurement technique using chest vibrations associated with heartbeats. Powered remotely by a smartphone, the e-tattoo is the first ultrathin and stretchable technology to measure both ECG and SCG.

Although soft e-tattoos for ECG sensing are not new, other sensors, such as the SCG sensor, are still made from nonstretchable materials, making them bulky and uncomfortable to wear. Lu and her team’s e-tattoo is made of a piezoelectric polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride, capable of generating its own electric charge in response to mechanical stress. The device also includes 3D digital image correlation technology that is used to map chest vibrations in order to identify the best location on the chest to place the e‐tattoo."

 

 

Read more about the heart monitoring e-tattoo at the University of Texas at Austin