Researchers Develop Wearable Bioelectronic Mesh to Monitor Electrophysiological Signals

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Researchers from Institute for Basic Science developed a wearable and implantable device to measure electrophysiological signals and deliver information on muscle and cardiac dysfunctions.

A research conducted at the Center for Nanoparticle Research of Institute for Basic Science (IBS), was successful in developing a wearable and implantable device that provides information on muscle and cardiac dysfunctions through electrical and thermal stimulations. The prototype of the device that can be implemented for pain relief, rehabilitation, and prosthetic motor control was described in Nature Nanotechnology on August 13, 2018.

The device is soft, elastic and stretchable and can follow contours of flexible joints, such as the wrist and was used to record the electrical activity of heart and muscles. The device can be worn on a forearm to simultaneously monitor electromyogram (EMG) signals. Moreover, the device delivers electrical and thermal stimulations that could be employed in therapeutic applications. The researchers tested the device on swine models with a customized large mesh fitted at the lower part of a swine heart. The implant was efficient in reading signals from the entire organ and identified possible lesions to help recovery. Moreover, it identified the change of ECG signal, which is a major symptom of an acute heart attack. The mesh does not interfere with the heart’s pumping activity as it remained stable during repetitive heart movements.

“Although various soft cardiac devices have been reported for the rat heart. This study on pigs can approximate human physiology more accurately,” says CHOI Suji, first co-author of the study. “We aim to study heart diseases, and stimulate the heart more effectively by synchronizing cardiac pumping activity.” Researchers used gold-coated silver nanowires mixed with polystyrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS)—a type of rubber— to create the stretchable and conductive patch. Moreover, leaching caused from silver and corrosion caused by air and biological fluids was prevented by the gold sheath.

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