Ultrathin, Comfortable, Multifunctional Biopatch for Safe and Effective Care of Neonatal and Infant Health Conditions

PI’s: Woon-Hong Yeo & Kevin Maher

Funded by: Imlay Foundation

Project Date: July 1, 2019

The use of non-invasive patient monitoring is working its way into the adult patient population with advancement in both medical and consumer electronic technologies. However, these devices have not been designed for children, much less neonates. There is a significant need for technologies that will provide a non-invasive, comfortable and accurate evaluation and assessment of the clinical status of our smallest patients. Clinicians and families who provide care to infants and neonates should expect that new technologies for cardio-respiratory monitoring will be multifunctional, portable, extremely well tolerated, accurate, and provide wireless transmission of data. The next generation of a neonatal monitoring device should work in the hospital and home environment, with a sophisticated assessment of patient status, including a warning system to detect and report abnormalities/ deviation from the norm to patient providers. Overall, our project is expected to resolve those issues through the Imlay Fund.

This project addresses the technical barriers that currently limit our ability to offer ultrathin, comfortable, tissue-friendly sensing environment, along with multifunctional, wireless health monitoring via a “skin-like” electronic system. The soft biopatch, developed in this project, will allow highly tolerated and integrated system for a portable, wireless cardiac and respiratory monitoring, which will offer significantly improved safe and effective care for neonates and infants.

This project opens up an entirely new way of designing and manufacturing an ultrathin, comfortable, skin- wearable biopatch with a long-range wireless sensing capability for safe and effective care of neonatal and infant  health conditions. The developed  non-invasive, soft wearable system on a stretchable membrane can incorporate any types of integrated circuits (ICs) for various functionalities, while still in a very small form factor. Specifically, this device, gently mounted on the skin from neonates and infants, can wirelessly quantify electrocardiograms (ECG), respiratory rates and effort, as well as temperature in real-time by using a smart appliance (smartphone, tablet, or laptop), which will offer safe, effective, and controllable care of neonatal and infant health conditions. Overall, the proposed soft electronics, via multi-institutional collaboration between Georgia Tech Engineering, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine will have multiple applications for improvement of pediatric healthcare and understanding of neonatal physiology.

Lim, H., Kim, H., Qazi, R., Kwon, Y., Jeong, J., Yeo, W.H., “Advanced Soft Materials, Sensor Integrations, and Applications of Wearable Flexible Hybrid Electronics in Healthcare, Energy, and Environment”, Adv Mater. 2019 Jul 8:e1901924. doi: 10.1002/adma.201901924.