We are developing cheap, wearable medical sensors based on composites and emulsions of Graphene. The devices will be comfortable, non-invasive and can provide intuitive diagnostics of infant breathing and heart rate.
The incorporation of nanomaterials such as Graphene into elastomer composites results in significant enhancement of mechanical properties, electrical conductivity and electrical strain response. The formation of emulsions stabilised with Graphene provides a system with very high electrical sensitivity to small strains, but which is also conformable and very simply prepared owing to the use of liquid processing.
Graphene emulsion systems exhibit very sensitive responses to small strain at high frequency, which make them suitable for detecting the infant pulse. By embedding these sensing elements into a wearable, elasticated device structure we can produce stand-alone medical sensors. These devices, with embedded processing and a simple “traffic light” indicator, would need minimal training to use.
Our idea has the potential to drastically improve early detection of life-threatening symptoms such as sleep apnoea or cardiac arrhythmia in infants living in remote areas, where constant monitoring with conventional equipment is challenging.
The operation of the devices is devised to be as simple and maintenance-free as possible; based on a three-colour “traffic light” system indicating possible problems or a situation where medical help should be sought immediately.