Wearable Tech in Brussels

I will be attending an information day event in Brussels next week on wearable technologies. I am hoping to pitch a research idea on “Internet of Skin.” This is based on a project I have been working on over the past year, developing rehabilitation technology for people with swallowing disorder. The idea is to use epidermal sensors (EMG) to track swallowing, and use sensor data to drive a rehabilitation game.

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“Internet of Skin” for Personal Informatics

The Internet of things is set to transform healthcare, providing wearable technologies that help people to monitor and reflect on various aspects of their lives. We aim to develop and investigate a next generation of wearable devices and innovative software applications for health and well-being using ultra-thin, stretchable epidermal electronics – that is, electronics thin enough and flexible enough that they can be mounted on the skin and can sense physiological signals non-invasively. We call this “Internet of Skin.”

Existing devices use traditional rigid electronics and, even if well designed, are relatively bulky. Whilst this is acceptable for many applications, others require more subtle sensing devices. For example, dysphagia is a medical term describing a range of swallowing difficulties. Current dysphagia rehabilitation requires patients to wear a large, rigid electronic box on their throat that allows a therapist to collect data on swallowing habits. Given the bulky nature of these devices, they can only be worn for short periods of time in a hospital setting. We have developed a skin-based EMG sensor for tracking swallowing, and a biofeedback game driven by the sensor for dysphagia rehabilitation.

Therefore, we propose novel research and development work in the use of “Internet of Skin” in everyday situations (not controlled lab settings), for health and well-being applications.

This is a collaborative project with Yeo Research Group, VCU .

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