Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Throughout the past decade, the field of wearable technology has exploded in both consumer and researcher interest, to the point that its market size is anticipated to grow by nearly 150% by 2028 . Sensor-embedded devices such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, certain smart shoe insoles, and more have become more commonplace in our daily lives. Partially due to the growth of this market, interest in conductive flexible and/or elastic materials has also increased, with fields such as printed electronics, conductive polymers, and elastomers embedded with conductive percolation networks. Although they have made their debut into foldable/rollable screens recently, flexible electronics have yet to be integrated into commercial wearables to the same extent as the rigid sensors seen in products like smart watches - accelerometers for motion tracking, red-green-IR LEDs for heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, etc. When in thin film form, flexible electronic components and systems offer unique advantages over their rigid counterparts. They can conform to and strain match human skin and sense for inputs such as touch/pressure, electrical potentials, chemical interactions, and mechanical deformation in a distributed manner . In the present work, a comprehensive design process is presented for a wearable device containing elastic, flexible thin film strain gauges, intended to conform to the user’s leg shape and monitor morphology change of the thigh and calf muscle groups during post-knee replacement recovery. The rationale behind this idea, the choice of sensors, feedback from clinicians into the design, and the state of flexible elastic strain gauging materials is discussed in moderate detail. The design of the circuit that transduces these sensors and transmits the data wirelessly is the main topic of the present work, and will be discussed thoroughly.
Garland, Jacob Read, "A Novel Wearable Device for Distributed Sensing of Elastomeric Strain Gauges" (2022). All Theses. 3793.