A primary motivation of our research is the monitoring of physical, physiological, and biochemical parameters - in any environment and without activity restriction and behaviour modification - through using miniaturised, wireless Body Sensor Networks (BSN). Key research issues that are currently being addressed include novel sensor designs, ultra-low power microprocessor and wireless platforms, energy scavenging, biocompatibility, system integration and miniaturisation, processing-on-node technologies combined with novel ASIC design, autonomic sensor networks and light-weight communication protocols. Our research is aimed at addressing the future needs of life-long health, wellbeing and healthcare, particularly those related to demographic changes associated with an ageing population and patients with chronic illnesses. This research theme is therefore closely aligned with the IGHI’s vision of providing safe, effective and accessible technologies for both developed and developing countries.

Some of our latest works were exhibited at the 2015 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

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  • Journal article
    Berthelot M, Ashcroft J, Boshier P, Henry FP, Hunter J, Lo B, Yang G-Z, Leff Det al., 2019,

    Use of near infrared spectroscopy and implantable Doppler for postoperative monitoring of free tissue transfer for breast reconstruction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    , Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 2169-7574

    Background: Failure to accurately assess the perfusion of free tissue transfer (FTT) in the early postoperative periodmay contribute to failure, which is a source of major patient morbidity and healthcare costs.Goal: This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to evaluate and appraise current evidence for the use of nearinfrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and/or implantable Doppler (ID) devices compared with conventional clinicalassessment (CCA) for postoperative monitoring of FTT in reconstructive breast surgery.Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Studies in humansubjects published within the last decade relevant to the review question were identified. Meta-analysis using randomeffects models of FTT failure rate and STARD scoring were then performed on the retrieved publications.Results: 19 studies met the inclusions criteria. For NIRS and ID, the mean sensitivity for the detection of FTT failure is99.36% and 100% respectively, with average specificity of 99.36% and 97.63% respectively. From studies withsufficient reported data, meta-analysis results demonstrated that both NIRS (OR = 0.09 [0.02, 0.36], P < 0.001) and ID(OR = 0.39 [0.27, 0.95], P = 0.04) were associated with significant reduction of FTT failure rates compared to CCA.Conclusion: The use of ID and NIRS provide equivalent outcomes in detecting FTT failure and were superior to CCA.The ability to acquire continuous objective physiological data regarding tissue perfusion is a perceived advantage ofthese techniques. Reduced clinical staff workload and minimised hospital costs are also perceived as positiveconsequences of their use.

  • Journal article
    Li B, Gil B, Power M, Gao A, Treratanakulchai S, Anastasova S, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Carbon-nanotube-coated 3D microspring force sensor for medical applications

    , ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Vol: 11, Pages: 35577-35586, ISSN: 1944-8244

    Flexible electronic materials combined with micro-3D fabrication present new opportunities for wearable biosensors and medical devices. This Research Article introduces a novel carbon-nanotube-coated force sensor, successfully combining the advantages of flexible conductive nanomaterials and the versatility of two photon polymerization technologies for creating functional 3D microstructures. The device employs carbon-nanotube-coated microsprings with varying configurations and geometries for real-time force sensing. To demonstrate its practical value, the device has first been embodied as a patch sensor for transcutaneous monitoring of human arterial pulses, followed by the development of a multiple-point force-sensitive catheter for real-time noninvasive intraluminal intervention. The results illustrate the potential of leveraging advanced nanomaterials and micro-3D-printing for developing new medical devices.

  • Journal article
    Barbot A, Tan H, Power M, Seichepine F, Yang G-Zet al., 2019,

    Floating magnetic microrobots for fiber functionalization

    , SCIENCE ROBOTICS, Vol: 4, ISSN: 2470-9476
  • Journal article
    He C, Chang J, Hu Q, Wang J, Antonello J, He H, Liu S, Lin J, Dai B, Elson DS, Xi P, Ma H, Booth MJet al., 2019,

    Complex vectorial optics through gradient index lens cascades

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 2041-1723

    Graded index (GRIN) lenses are commonly used for compact imaging systems. It is not widely appreciated that the ion-exchange process that creates the rotationally symmetric GRIN lens index profile also causes a symmetric birefringence variation. This property is usually considered a nuisance, such that manufacturing processes are optimized to keep it to a minimum. Here, rather than avoiding this birefringence, we understand and harness it by using GRIN lenses in cascade with other optical components to enable extra functionality in commonplace GRIN lens systems. We show how birefringence in the GRIN cascades can generate vector vortex beams and foci, and how it can be used advantageously to improve axial resolution. Through using the birefringence for analysis, we show that the GRIN cascades form the basis of a new single-shot Müller matrix polarimeter with potential for endoscopic label-free cancer diagnostics. The versatility of these cascades opens up new technological directions.

  • Journal article
    Chen C-M, Kwasnicki RM, Curto VF, Yang G-Z, Lo BPLet al., 2019,

    Tissue oxygenation sensor and an active in vitro phantom for sensor Validation

    , IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol: 19, Pages: 8233-8240, ISSN: 1530-437X

    A free flap is a tissue reconstruction procedure where healthy tissue is harvested to cover up vital structures after wound debridement. Microvascular anastomoses are carried out to join the arteries and veins of the flap with recipient vessels near the target site. Continuous monitoring is required to identify the flap failure and enable early intervention to salvage the flap. Although there are medical instruments that can assist surgeons in monitoring flap viability, high upfront costs and time-consuming data interpretation have hindered the use of such technologies in practice. Surgeons still rely largely on the clinical examination to monitor flaps after operations. This paper presents a low-cost, low-power (6.6 mW), and miniaturized Hamlyn StO 2 (tissue oxygen saturation) sensor that can be embodied as a plaster and attached to a flap for real-time monitoring. Similar to the design of oxygen saturation (SpO 2 /SaO 2 ) sensors, the Hamlyn StO 2 sensor was designed based on photoplethysmography (PPG), but with a different target of quantifying tissue perfusion rather than capturing pulsatile flow. To understand the spectral response to oxygenation/deoxygenation and vascular flow, an active in vitro silicone phantom was developed. The new sensor was validated using the silicone phantom and compared with a commercially available photospectroscopy and laser Doppler machine (O2C, LEA, Germany). In addition, in vivo experiments were conducted using a brachial pressure cuff forearm ischemia model. The experiment results have shown a high correlation between the proposed sensor and the O2C machine (r = 0.672 and p <; 0.001), demonstrating the potential value of the of the proposed low-cost sensor in post-operative free flap monitoring.

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