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Attachable Skin Monitors that Wick the Sweat Away
- A silicone membrane for wearable devices is more comfortable and breathable thanks to better-sized pores made with the help of citric acid crystals. - A new preparation technique fabricates thin, silicone-based patches that rapidly wick water away from the skin. The technique could reduce the redness and itching caused by wearable biosensors that trap sweat beneath them. The technique was developed by bioengineer and professor Young-Ho Cho and his colleagues at KAIST and reported in the journal Scientific Reports last month. “Wearable bioelectronics are becoming more attractive for the day-to-day monitoring of biological compounds found in sweat, like hormones or glucose, as well as body temperature, heart rate, and energy expenditure,” Professor Cho explained. “But currently available materials can cause skin irritation, so scientists are looking for ways to improve them,” he added. Attachable biosensors often use a silicone-based compound called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), as it has a relatively high water vapour transmission rate compared to other materials. Still, this rate is only two-thirds that of skin’s water evaporation rate, meaning sweat still gets trapped underneath it. Current fabrication approaches mix PDMS with beads or solutes, such as sugars or salts, and then remove them to leave pores in their place. Another technique uses gas to form pores in the material. Each technique has its disadvantages, from being expensive and complex to leaving pores of different sizes. A team of researchers led by Professor Cho from the KAIST Department of Bio and Brain Engineering was able to form small, uniform pores by crystallizing citric acid in PDMS and then removing the crystals using ethanol. The approach is significantly cheaper than using beads, and leads to 93.2% smaller and 425% more uniformly-sized pores compared to using sugar. Importantly, the membrane transmits water vapour 2.2 times faster than human skin. The team tested their membrane on human skin for seven days and found that it caused only minor redness and no itching, whereas a non-porous PDMS membrane did. Professor Cho said, “Our method could be used to fabricate porous PDMS membranes for skin-attachable devices used for daily monitoring of physiological signals.” “We next plan to modify our membrane so it can be more readily attached to and removed from skin,” he added. This work was supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea under the Alchemist Project. Image description: Smaller, more uniformly-sized pores are made in the PDMS membrane by mixing PDMS, toluene, citric acid, and ethanol. Toluene dilutes PDMS so it can easily mix with the other two constituents. Toluene and ethanol are then evaporated, which causes the citric acid to crystallize within the PDMS material. The mixture is placed in a mould where it solidifies into a thin film. The crystals are then removed using ethanol, leaving pores in their place. Image credit: Professor Young-Ho Cho, KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image, with proper attribution, as part of news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Yoon, S, et al. (2021) Wearable porous PDMS layer of high moisture permeability for skin trouble reduction. Scientific Reports 11, Article No. 938. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78580-z Profile: Young-Ho Cho, Ph.D Professor firstname.lastname@example.org https://mems.kaist.ac.kr NanoSentuating Systems Laboratory Department of Bio and Brain Engineering https://kaist.ac.kr Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, Republic of Korea (END)
Newsweek: The Goosebump Sensor That Knows How You Feel
Newsweek covered the introduction of the goosebump sensor invented by Professor Young-Ho Cho of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering at KAIST in an article dated July 27, 2014. The article entitled “The Goosebump Sensor That Knows How You Feel” explains how the sensor works and reports on the current research and development trends in emotion-sensing technology. Professor Cho’s research paper was originally published in the journal Applied Physics Letters on June 24, 2014, titled “A Flexible Skin Piloerection Monitoring Sensor." Newsweek, July 27, 2014 “The Goosebump Sensor That Knows How You Feel” http://www.newsweek.com/goosebump-sensor-knows-how-you-feel-260689
Professor Young-Ho Cho elected as head of international academic conference
KAIST’s Professor Young-Ho Cho of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering was appointed as the head of the PowerMems (Power Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) symposium to be held at Se-Jong Hotel in Seoul from November 15-18, 2011. Professor Jo is America’s first engineering doctor in the field of MEMS and is the founding member of the BSAC (Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center), the start of the MEMS technology. PowerMEMS is the core of green growth and next generation energy production. It focuses on harvesting energy from minute vibrations or renewable energy sources such as sunlight or plants to harvest and store energy via micro or even nano size systems. The symposium was first held in 2000, and it is where leading experts in the field share papers on the production and harvesting energy in the micro scale.
KAIST Opens Cell Bench Research Center
KAIST opened a cell bench research center on the campus on Monday, Nov. 17, as a joint project with Samsung Electric Co. and Samsung Medical Center. On hand at the opening ceremony were about 100 persons from the three organizations, including KAIST President Nam-Pyo Suh, Samsung Electric"s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Byung-Cheon Koh and Samsung Medical Center Vice President Hyo-Geun Lim. The newly-opened research center will be involved in the development of individually-tailored anti-cancer medicine using bio-inspired cell chips and technologies for clinical applications. Prof. Young-Ho Cho of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering was named director of the research center. "Top-notch professionals from the electronic industry, academia and the medical community have gathered together to establish this research center. We expect the center will open a new path for the science and technology community and the industry to combine their strengths and develop innovative anti-cancer therapeutics," said KAIST President Nam-Pyo Suh at the opening ceremony. "The development of bio-cell chip technology represents a new challenge for the Samsung Electric which has focused on information technologies thus far. Through cooperation with KAIST and Samsung Medical Center, we expect to be able to develop a simple and efficient cure for cancer patients," commented Samsung Electric CTO Byung-Cheon Koh. The research center will be initially concentrating on the development of cell chips for lung cancer, one of the primary causes of death for Koreans.
World Micromachine Summit to Open in Daejeon
The 2008 World Micromachine Summit will be held at Hotel Riviera in Daejeon for a four-day run from April 30, drawing worldwide industrial and academic leaders in the micro-nano-technology (MNT). Organizers say that 76 delegates and 56 observers from 19 countries and regions will take part in this year"s Micromachine Summit. Prof. Cho Young-ho of the Department of Bio & Brain Engineering of KAIST will play host to the annual event. Participants will discuss the progress of micro-nano-technology in each country and region development of national policies in this area. The Summit was first organized in 1995 by the Micromachine Center of Japan with representatives from 10 countries participating. They were Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Korea was first invited to the conference in 1999. Since then, Korea has played an active role in promoting technological exchanges among nations and has conducted presentations and discussions on major technological breakthroughs. During the four-day run, each delegation will outline their country"s policies and strategies and present local features on focused areas including this year"s main theme, "Micromachine towards Technology Convergence Era." The gathering will offer a valuable opportunity for the participants to exchange and collect information on the current state of the MNT, as well as providing a forum for worldwide networking of leaders in the area.
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