Wearable biosensor with skin interface for health monitoring of newborns and infants

In a recent review published in Communications Materials, researchers reviewed recent improvements in wearable systems for newborns, focusing on skin-attached wearable devices for physiological monitoring across multiple branches.

Study: Skin-interfacing wearable biosensor for smart health monitoring of infants and newborns.  Image Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.comStudy: Skin-interfacing wearable biosensor for smart health monitoring of infants and newborns, Image Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com


Evaluating the health of pediatric patients in critical care can be particularly difficult for patients and their caregivers because testing settings involve multiple catheters, probes, and electrodes that restrict patient activity.

Health assessment typically requires expensive and cumbersome equipment to monitor physiological parameters such as respiratory rate, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, ion concentrations, and blood pressure.

However, over the past several decades, scientific advances have led to wearable, non-invasive, and soft technology, superseding current procedures.

About review

In the present review, researchers explored the material basis for wearable devices, focusing on the concepts and technological improvements of major physiological monitoring branches such as biopotential, optical, temperature, electrochemical, and multi-signal sensing.

Materials development for wearable sensors

Epidermal electronic systems (EES) are soft, flexible electronic devices created using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. These devices have physical properties similar to those of the epidermis, allowing high flexibility.

Thin film materials such as polyimide and thin metal deposition can be employed as conductive layers, resulting in ultrathin and flexible devices with sub-nanometer bending stiffness and 140 kPa effective modulus.

One can easily apply EES to the skin with a thin adhesive transfer film or a wet bandage. The third-stage serpentine combines dynamic speed, high signal quality and continuous contact with the skin surface.

Elastomers, less expensive than silicon wafer technology, are ideal substrates for integrating soft electronics into EES. Elastomeric encapsulation can be used for hybrid electronic systems, as it combines flexible EES sensor devices, rigid active and passive electronics, wire-free communications and information processing to form an all-in-one that facilitates real-time monitoring. -Forest equipment can be provided.

Textiles are commonly used to incorporate biosignal sensing devices due to their perceived convenience and familiarity. Techniques include weaving electrically conductive fibers, sewing them onto nylon or polyurethane coated with gold or silver, and printing electric ink onto the fibers.

These components can be easily attached to apparel items, including onesies, straps, and coats. Textile electrodes integrated into clothing reduce the requirements for conductive gel and tape but reduce signal quality.

Capacitive and resistive strain responses from conductive fibers can assess physiological parameters such as breathing rate and motility.

One can transfer data via cable connections or cumbersome wireless transmitters, but antennas can be woven into clothing and paired with RFID tags to transfer data in a battery-free and wireless manner.

Wearable sensors used to monitor physiological conditions

The human body produces action potentials through chemical processes monitored by electrodes on the skin. These biopotential signals are important for monitoring health, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) for heart activity, electromyography (EMG) for muscle activation, electroencephalogram (EEG) for brain activity, and electrocardiogram (EEG) for tracking eye movements. For EEG.

The researchers created an all-in-one EES system to simulate vital signs monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which involves wireless inductive power transmission and data exchange to a host reader platform under the patient's mattress. The technology is mechanically delicate and requires a conductive gel.

EEG is a diagnostic technique that measures the electrical activity of the brain using electrodes implanted in the head. Common modalities include single-channel amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) and multichannel continuous EEG (cEEG), with cEEG being the gold standard.

There have been some studies on physically redesigning EEG electrode systems; However, most advances have involved developing textile caps or bands to enhance electrode placement when using specific wet electrodes.

Optical sensing for medical applications uses spectrophotometric principles to non-invasively probe physiological processes transcutaneously.

Researchers have developed a forehead reflection PPG for premature newborns, a flexible PPG sensor for the foot, and a wireless system to monitor infant cerebral hemodynamics.

Neonatal non-invasive thin film biomarker sensing, which focuses on sweat, saliva and urine, can replace standard blood draws in detecting chemical or protein biomarkers for health pre-diagnosis, diagnosis and prognosis.

Electrochemical sensing detects charge transfer at a sensing electrode, allowing wearables to record current, conductivity, and voltage/potential changes.

The researchers created a multi-signal system that uses binodal ECG and PPG measurement devices to determine pulse arrival time, calculate pulse transit time, and measure seismocardiograms.


Based on review findings, flexible electronics and wearable health monitoring technologies have improved patient outcomes by detecting physiological indicators rather than intrusive treatments.

Advanced signal processing enables medical applications such as blood pressure and body temperature imaging. The reduction in size of electronics has resulted in advances in health care, particularly in neonatal applications where small footprint, delicate handling, and simplicity of use are important.

Wearable stethoscopes to monitor asthma and wearable dry ECG to monitor seizures are recent technologies that have simplified treatment options in the NICU. Automated monitoring systems can particularly benefit sick, school-age children, increasing independence and self-reliance.

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