Skin-like Sensors for Dyphagia

Electrophysiology research has drawn a great attention for advancing human-computer interaction (HCI), in addition to its main contributions in health monitoring. Recently, in collaboration with Dr Yeo from VCU,  we are researching a class of technology for low profile, soft, and stretchable electronics (‘skin-like electronics’), which provides comfortable, conformal integration to the human skin for recording of physiological signals. Without the use of conductive gels and adhesives, ultrathin elastomeric membranes provided sufficient adhesion force to mount electrodes on the skin (see figure below), purely via van der Waals interactions; same force that geckos use to stick to walls. The work has been published here.

Picture1.pngPhotos of four skin-like electrodes mounted on the face (center), targeting masseter muscles (left) and submental muscles (right).

This research explores the viability of the skin-like electronics for unobtrusive, continuous recording of surface electromyograms (EMG). Currently, we are interested in exploring how skin-like EMG sensors can be used for monitoring swallowing and chewing. We measure deglutition (action of swallowing) behaviour to demonstrate game-based, user-controlled feedback (see video below).

A set of user evaluations and interviews demonstrates the device feasibility and validity for high-fidelity recording of EMG and its use for a HCI. The skin-like electronic system shows a great potential for the use in EMG-driven feedback systems and applications for people with swallowing disorders and other health-related applications.