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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  • Book chapter
    Anastasova S, Kassanos P, Yang G-Z, 2018,

    Electrochemical Sensor Designs for Biomedical Implants

    , Implantable Sensors and Systems: From Theory to Practice, Editors: Yang, Publisher: Springer, Pages: 19-98, ISBN: 978-3-319-69748-2

    The need to record directly the sensing target of interest in the vicinity of where a physiological and clinically relevant event takes place, rather than indirectly or through surrogate measures, has led to the need for implantable monitoring devices. In addition to ensuring the sensitivity and specificity of sensor responses, issues related to sensor fouling, drift, biocompatibility, and hermeticity of the packaging are important considerations. This chapter examines the current state of the art of sensing techniques, focusing on electrochemical methods (potentiometry, amperometry, and voltammetry), due to their simplicity in design and fabrication [1], as well as low-power operation.

  • Book chapter
    Kassanos P, Anastasova S, Yang G-Z, 2018,

    Sensor Embodiment and Flexible Electronics

    , Implantable Sensors and Systems: From Theory to Practice, Editors: Yang, Publisher: Springer, Pages: 197-279, ISBN: 978-3-319-69748-2

    Sensor embodiment and packaging are particularly important for implantable systems. One key element is the development of flexible electronics. Traditional electronics, based on rigid silicon technologies, is associated with a number of intrinsic disadvantages. The inherent brittleness of inorganic semiconductors and stiffness of Si wafer-based devices represent a major issue when interfaced with tissues. This is because our internal organs are complex and they have innate responses to reject foreign bodies. Furthermore, tissues are soft, and they undergo constant motion and deformation. In this chapter, we will discuss current progress in flexible printed circuit board (FPC/FPCB) technologies and provide a review of new fabrication techniques and materials for making soft devices and interconnects suitable for implantable applications. Issues related to geometrical designs for mechanically resilient flexible devices, hermetic packaging, biocompatibility and encapsulation are addressed.

  • Journal article
    Vysniauskas A, Lopez Duarte I, Thompson AJ, Bull JA, Kuimova MKet al., 2018,

    Surface functionalisation with viscosity-sensitive BODIPY molecular rotor

    , Methods and Applications in Fluorescence, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2050-6120

    Surface functionalisation with viscosity sensitive dyes termed ‘molecular rotors’ can potentially open up new opportunities in sensing, for example for non-invasive biological viscosity imaging, in studying the effect of shear stress on lipid membranes and in cells, and in imaging contacts between surfaces upon applied pressure. We have functionalised microscope slides with BODIPY-based molecular rotor capable of viscosity sensing via its fluorescence lifetime. We have optimised functionalisation conditions and prepared the slides with the BODIPY rotor attached directly to the surface of glass slides and through polymer linkers of 5 kDa and 40 kDa in mass. The slides were characterised for their sensitivity to viscosity, and used to measure viscosity of supported lipid bilayers during photooxidation, and of giant unilamellar vesicles lying on the surface of the slide. We conclude that our functionalised slides show promise for a variety of viscosity sensing applications.

  • Conference paper
    Berthelot M, Yang G-Z, Lo B, 2018,

    Tomographic probe for perfusion analysis in deep layer tissue

    , 15th International Conference on Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI) and Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN) of the IEEE-Engineering-in-Medicine-and-Biology-Society, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 86-89, ISSN: 2376-8886

    Continuous buried soft tissue free flap postoperative monitoring is crucial to detect flap failure and enable early intervention. In this case, clinical assessment is challenging as the flap is buried and only implantable or hand held devices can be used for regular monitoring. These devices have limitations in their price, usability and specificity. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has shown promising results for superficial free flap postoperative monitoring, but it has not been considered for buried free flap, mainly due to the limited penetration depth of conventional approaches. A wearable wireless tomographic probe has been developed for continuous monitoring of tissue perfusion at different depths. Using the NIRS method, blood flow can be continuously measured at different tissue depths. This device has been designed following conclusions of extensive computerised simulations and it has been validated using a vascular phantom.

  • Conference paper
    Yang GZ, Rosa BMG, 2018,

    A wearable and battery-less device for assessing skin hydration level under direct sunlight exposure with ultraviolet index calculation

    , 2018 IEEE 15th International Conference on Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (BSN), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 201-204

    Skin cancer is a medical condition that is becoming more common in many countries as a result of excessive exposure of individuals to sunlight. The ultraviolet range of the electromagnetic radiation is responsible for 90% of the cases involving the development of melanomas. Additional factors like the skin tone and texture can increase the risk of radiation exposure when the water content retained by the skin starts to drop dramatically. In this paper we present a small, batteryless wearable device that combines the computation of sunlight exposure with the measurement of the impedance of the skin and temperature, at any time of the day and independently of the location of the person wearing the sensor. Results have shown a good performance in tracking the ultraviolet index and the variation of impedance for different levels of skin hydration.

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