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Coin-Sized Wearable Biosensing Platform Continuously Monitors Biosignals in Blood

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Aug 2022
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Image: New coin-sized system can read weak electrochemical signals (Photo courtesy of The University of Hong Kong)
Image: New coin-sized system can read weak electrochemical signals (Photo courtesy of The University of Hong Kong)

Organic electrochemical transistors are widely considered to be the next-generation sensing technology because of their water stability and high sensitivity at low operating voltage (milli-volts) but, until now, lacked a miniaturized wireless system to operate within. Now, researchers have developed a coin-sized system that can read weak electrochemical signals, which can be used for personalized health monitoring and measurement of such conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental health.

The PERfECT System – an acronym for Personalized Electronic Reader for Electrochemical Transistors – developed by researchers at The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) is the world’s smallest system of its kind, measuring 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm x 0.2 cm and weighing only 0.4 grams. It is easily wearable, for instance integrated with a smartwatch or as a patch, to allow for continuous monitoring of biosignals such as glucose levels and antibody concentrations in blood and even sweat.

The PERfECT wearable system can precisely characterize the overall performance of the electrochemical transistor, with a data sampling rate as high as 200 kilosamples per second – a performance on par with bulky commercial equipment. But the price is only one-tenth of the commercial one. It can also serve as a miniaturized electrochemical station for wearable devices and measure the outputs of other kinds of low-voltage transistors, such as electrolyte-gated field effect transistors and high-k dielectric-gated thin-film transistors. The system could be applied immediately in multiple wearable systems that are based on low-voltage transistors.

“Our wearable system is tiny, soft and imperceptible to wearers, and it can do continuous monitoring of our body condition. These features mean it has the potential to revolutionize healthcare technology,” said Dr. Shiming Zhang of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, who is leading the HKU WISE (wearable, intelligent and soft electronics) Research Group to develop the system.

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