“Revolutionary” bioelectrical sensor detects signals from within clothing

October 4, 2021
Revolutionary bioelectrical sensor detects signals from within clothing

An international team of researchers from the University of Utah, US, and Gyeongsang National University, South Korea, part of APL Materials, have developed a fabric-embedded bioelectrical sensor that is convenient and low-cost.

Bioelectrical sensors measure electromyography (EMG) signals that are generated in muscles upon contraction. EMG signals provide valuable information to clinicians for studying muscle fatigue and recovery. EMGs could also potentially inform diagnosis and treatment of muscle weaknesses or neuromuscular diseases.

Due to its complexity, however, currently available bioelectrical sensor technology is ineffective, uncomfortable, and expensive to patients.

Assistant professor Huanan Zhang, from the University of Utah, and colleagues have since integrated a biosensor made of trace amounts of gold and silver directly onto a piece of clothing – the result was a sensor that was both conductive and nonirritating to the skin; the amounts of gold and silver are small enough that it remains inexpensive as well.

The scientists tested the biosensor’s performance by placing it on the bicep and fingers and monitoring the detected signal as those muscles progressed through various exercises. The team also retested sensor performance after multiple washings and found its performance remained high.

Read: Scientists discover new method to boost muscle regeneration and rebuild tissue

“This work not only designs a wearable device, which has the convenience factor, but it also has great performance and is biocompatible,” said Zhang.

The team believes that using this printing technique on textiles could revolutionise future bioelectrical sensors.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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