Special Issue "Wearable Sensor"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Esther Rodriguez-Villegas

Wearable Technologies Lab and Circuits and Systems Group, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: wearable devices; low power electronics; smart health systems; continuous patient monitoring; high performance analogue circuits; biomedical signal processing
Guest Editor
Dr. Syed Anas Imtiaz

Wearable Technologies Lab, Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biomedical signal processing; smart sensors; Internet of things; sleep medicine; wearable health systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wearable devices have a variety of applications in many different areas, including healthcare, fitness, assisted living, sports, remote monitoring, and rehabilitation. However, realization of truly wearable devices is only possible by having sensors within these devices (i.e., wearable sensors) that can sense data continuously in an unobtrusive way over long periods of time while being worn by patients and other users. These may be in the form of textile fabric, flexible patch, skin attachment or an implant and sense a range of physiological and environmental parameters. The key issues in the design of wearable sensors include their sensing accuracy, size, flexibility, and power consumption. These aims are very challenging to achieve and require further research in to novel sensing materials and their electrical and mechanical characteristics. Consequently, this Special Issue of Polymers invites high-quality research and review articles highlighting the advances in wearable sensors and their properties with particular emphasis on biomedical and healthcare applications.

Contributions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Flexible sensors for wearable and implantable devices
  • Innovative applications of wearable sensors
  • Wearable sensors for biomedical applications
  • Advances in materials for polymer-based sensors
  • Demonstration and characterization of full systems using wearable sensors

Prof. Dr. Esther Rodriguez Villegas
Dr. Syed Anas Imtiaz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sensor materials
  • Wearable devices
  • Sensors for mobile health
  • Ultra-low power consumption
  • Flexible sensors
  • Biosensing
  • Bio-inspired materials
  • Polyelectrolytes
  • Conducting polymer sensors

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Large-Scale and Flexible Self-Powered Triboelectric Tactile Sensing Array for Sensitive Robot Skin
Polymers 2017, 9(11), 586; doi:10.3390/polym9110586
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 2 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Advances in flexible and multifunctional electronic devices have enabled the realization of sophisticated skin for robotics applications. In this paper, a large-scale, flexible and self-powered tactile sensing array (TSA) for sensitive robot skin is demonstrated based on the triboelectric effect. The device, with
[...] Read more.
Advances in flexible and multifunctional electronic devices have enabled the realization of sophisticated skin for robotics applications. In this paper, a large-scale, flexible and self-powered tactile sensing array (TSA) for sensitive robot skin is demonstrated based on the triboelectric effect. The device, with 4 × 4 sensing units, was composed of a top triboelectric polyethylene terephthalate (PET) layer, a bottom triboelectric copper (Cu) layer and a bottom PET substrate. A low-cost roll-to-roll ultraviolet embossing fabrication process was induced to pattern the large-scale top PET film with microstructures for high-output performance. The working mechanism and output performance of the triboelectric TSA were demonstrated and characterized, exhibiting good stability and high sensitivity. By integrating a tactile feedback system, the large-scale TSA, acting as intelligent skin for an industrial robot, was able to realize emergency avoidance and safety stop for various unknown obstacles under various working conditions. The system also has good real-time performance. By using a large-scale roll-to-roll fabrication method, this work pushes forward a significant step to self-powered triboelectric TSA and its potential applications in intelligent robot skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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Open AccessArticle A Wearable and Wireless Gas-Sensing System Using Flexible Polymer/Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Composite Films
Polymers 2017, 9(9), 457; doi:10.3390/polym9090457
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
In this study, an integrated flexible gas sensor was developed based on a polymer/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite film by using Bluetooth wireless communication/interface technology. Polymer/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite films were deposited over a polyimide flexible substrate for building a gas sensor array by
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In this study, an integrated flexible gas sensor was developed based on a polymer/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite film by using Bluetooth wireless communication/interface technology. Polymer/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite films were deposited over a polyimide flexible substrate for building a gas sensor array by using a drop-casting method. Sensor response was acquired through interdigitated electrodes and multi-channel sensor boards, which were linked to a Bluetooth wireless transceiver. Additionally, a double-spiral-shaped heater was built into the backside of the gas sensor array as a thermostat to protect it from the influence of ambient temperature. Multi-channel sensing responses were read on a display screen via a smartphone application (app). The advantages of this system include light weight, low cost, highly integrated sensors, wireless telecommunication, and real-time functioning. Thus, it is a promising candidate for deployment in a wearable gas-sensing system used to study air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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Open AccessArticle ECG Monitoring Garment Using Conductive Carbon Paste for Reduced Motion Artifacts
Polymers 2017, 9(9), 439; doi:10.3390/polym9090439
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract
The heart is a fundamental organ of the human circulatory system and the continuous measurement of electrocardiogram (ECG) signals is of great importance for pre-detection of heart diseases. Dry electrodes that do not require electrolyte gel have been developed for wearable ECG monitoring
[...] Read more.
The heart is a fundamental organ of the human circulatory system and the continuous measurement of electrocardiogram (ECG) signals is of great importance for pre-detection of heart diseases. Dry electrodes that do not require electrolyte gel have been developed for wearable ECG monitoring applications. However, this kind of electrode often introduces motion artifacts because of the high contact impedance between the electrode and skin. We propose a wearable ECG monitoring garment that employs electrodes made of conductive carbon-based paste. This paste is directly applied to the skin and after drying for 5 min, it forms a patch electrode that is detachable and flexible. The contact impedance between the patch electrode and the skin is very low because the paste covers the skin in a conformal manner. The experimental results show that the contact area of the carbon-based paste on the skin replica is almost 100%. At frequencies under 10 Hz, the contact impedance of the patch electrode is of 70.0 kΩ, much lower than the typical 118.7 kΩ impedance of a Ag/AgCl electrode. We also demonstrate that the ECG signals measured using the custom-designed garment and the patch electrodes are very stable even during actions such as walking and running. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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Open AccessArticle Flexible Polymer Device Based on Parylene-C with Memory and Temperature Sensing Functionalities
Polymers 2017, 9(8), 310; doi:10.3390/polym9080310
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Polychloro-para-xylylene (parylene-C) is a flexible and transparent polymer material which has excellent chemical stability and high biocompatibility. Here we demonstrate a polymer device based on single-component parylene-C with memory and temperature sensing functionalities. The device shows stable bipolar resistive switching behavior, remarkable storage
[...] Read more.
Polychloro-para-xylylene (parylene-C) is a flexible and transparent polymer material which has excellent chemical stability and high biocompatibility. Here we demonstrate a polymer device based on single-component parylene-C with memory and temperature sensing functionalities. The device shows stable bipolar resistive switching behavior, remarkable storage window (>104), and low operation voltages, exhibiting great potential for flexible resistive random-access memory (RRAM) applications. The I-V curves and conductive atomic force microscopy (CAFM) results verify the metallic filamentary-type switching mechanism based on the formation and dissolution of a metal bridge related to the redox reaction of the active metal electrode. In addition, due to the metallic properties of the low-resistance state (LRS) in the polymer device, the resistance in the LRS exhibits a nearly linear relationship at the temperature regime between 25 °C and 100 °C. With a temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR) of 2.136 × 10−3/°C, the device is also promising for the flexible temperature sensor applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Integration of Heterogeneous Materials for Wearable Sensors
Polymers 2018, 10(1), 60; doi:10.3390/polym10010060
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 30 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
Wearable sensors are of interest for several application areas, most importantly for their potential to allow for the design of personal continuous health monitoring systems. For wearable sensors, flexibility is required and imperceptibility is desired. Wearable sensors must be robust to strain, motion,
[...] Read more.
Wearable sensors are of interest for several application areas, most importantly for their potential to allow for the design of personal continuous health monitoring systems. For wearable sensors, flexibility is required and imperceptibility is desired. Wearable sensors must be robust to strain, motion, and environmental exposure. A number of different strategies have been utilized to achieve flexibility, imperceptibility, and robustness. All of these approaches require the integration of materials having a range of chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties. We have given a concise review of the range of materials that must be incorporated in wearable sensors regardless of the strategies adopted to achieve wearability. We first describe recent advances in the range of wearable sensing materials and their processing requirements and then discuss the potential routes to the integration of these heterogeneous materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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Open AccessReview Smart Sensor Systems for Wearable Electronic Devices
Polymers 2017, 9(8), 303; doi:10.3390/polym9080303
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 22 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (9963 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wearable human interaction devices are technologies with various applications for improving human comfort, convenience and security and for monitoring health conditions. Healthcare monitoring includes caring for the welfare of every person, which includes early diagnosis of diseases, real-time monitoring of the effects of
[...] Read more.
Wearable human interaction devices are technologies with various applications for improving human comfort, convenience and security and for monitoring health conditions. Healthcare monitoring includes caring for the welfare of every person, which includes early diagnosis of diseases, real-time monitoring of the effects of treatment, therapy, and the general monitoring of the conditions of people’s health. As a result, wearable electronic devices are receiving greater attention because of their facile interaction with the human body, such as monitoring heart rate, wrist pulse, motion, blood pressure, intraocular pressure, and other health-related conditions. In this paper, various smart sensors and wireless systems are reviewed, the current state of research related to such systems is reported, and their detection mechanisms are compared. Our focus was limited to wearable and attachable sensors. Section 1 presents the various smart sensors. In Section 2, we describe multiplexed sensors that can monitor several physiological signals simultaneously. Section 3 provides a discussion about short-range wireless systems including bluetooth, near field communication (NFC), and resonance antenna systems for wearable electronic devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor)
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