Research Paper

e-Nanoflex Sensor System: Smartphone-Based Roaming Health Monitor

[+] Author and Article Information
Vijay K. Varadan

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701; Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033vjvesm@uark.edu

Prashanth S. Kumar, Sechang Oh, Hyeokjun Kwon

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Pratyush Rai

Biomedical Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Nilanjan Banerjee

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Robert E. Harbaugh

Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 2(1), 011016 (Feb 16, 2011) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003479 History: Received November 23, 2010; Revised January 07, 2011; Published February 16, 2011; Online February 16, 2011

The growing need and market demand for point of care (POC) systems to improve patient’s quality of life are driving the development of wireless nanotechnology based smart systems for diagnosis and treatment of various chronic and life threatening diseases. POC diagnostics for neurological, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders require constant long term untethered monitoring of individuals. Given the uncertainty associated with location and time at which immediate diagnosis and treatment may be required, constant vigilance and monitoring are the only practical solutions. What is needed is for a remote cyber-enabled health care smart system incorporating novel ideas from nanotechnology, low power embedded systems, wireless networking, and cloud computing to fundamentally advance. To meet this goal, we present e-Nanoflex platform, which is capable of monitoring patient health wherever they may be and communicating the data in real time to a physician or a hospital. Unlike state-of-the-art systems that are either local sensor systems or rely on custom relaying devices, e-Nanoflex is a highly nonintrusive and inexpensive end-to-end cyber-physical system. Using nanostructured sensors, e-Nanoflex provides nearly invisible monitoring of physiological conditions. It relies on smartphones to filter, compress, and relay geo-tagged data. Further, it ties to a backend cloud infrastructure for data storage, data dissemination, and abnormality detection using machine learning techniques. e-Nanoflex is a complete end-to-end system for physiological sensing and geo-tagged data dissemination to hospitals and caregivers. It is intended as a basic platform that can support any nanostructure based flexible sensor to monitor a variety of conditions such as body temperature, respiration air flow, oxygen consumption, bioelectric signals, pulse oximetry, muscle activity, and neural activity. Additionally, to address the cost of manufacturing sensors, e-Nanoflex uses a low cost production technique based on roll to roll gravure printing. We show the efficacy of our platform through a case study that involves acquiring electrocardiogram signals using gold nano-electrodes fabricated on a flexible substrate.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Data flow from e-Nanoflex sensors to remote storage servers

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Figure 2

Top and bottom perspectives of the e-Nanoflex system

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Figure 3

Schematic of sensor data flow

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Figure 4

(a) Scanning electron microscope image of vertical gold nanowires. (b) The gold nanowire electrode packaged in a medical plaster.

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Figure 5

The schematic of the first stage instrumentation amplifier

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Figure 6

The schematic of the final two amplifier stages

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Figure 7

Schematic for the voltage reference circuit needed for the ECG amplifier (left) and connections between the microcontroller and the bluetooth module (right)

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Figure 8

A flow chart of the algorithm implemented on the microcontroller

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Figure 9

Process flow for e-Nanoflex sensor discovery and connection

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Figure 10

(a) The electrode positions for leads I, II, and III ECG. (b) Lead I ECG data displayed in real time on a smartphone.

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Figure 11

Three limb lead ECGs acquired from e-Nanoflex sensor using (a) commercial Ag/AgCl electrode and (b) gold nanowire electrode

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Figure 12

Snapshot of ECG data stored from the user and the corresponding location from where the data were sent

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Figure 13

Roll to roll fabrication for printed circuit flexible platform

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Figure 14

Roll to roll fabrication for nanowire electrode



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