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Sci Adv. 2015 Oct 30;1(9):e1500701. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1500701. eCollection 2015 Oct.

Epidermal devices for noninvasive, precise, and continuous mapping of macrovascular and microvascular blood flow.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
2
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Center for Engineering and Health, and Skin Disease Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. ; Department of Engineering Mechanics, Center for Mechanics and Materials, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
3
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Center for Engineering and Health, and Skin Disease Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. ; Institute of Solid Mechanics, Beihang University (BUAA), Beijing 100191, China.
4
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
5
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Center for Engineering and Health, and Skin Disease Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. ; College of Aerospace and Civil Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin 150001, China.
6
Department of Engineering Mechanics, Center for Mechanics and Materials, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
7
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Center for Engineering and Health, and Skin Disease Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. ; State Key Laboratory of Mechanics and Control of Mechanical Structures, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China.
8
Genomic Medicine Section, Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
9
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
10
L'Oréal California Research Center, 953 Indiana Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA.
11
Department of Medicine, Sarver Heart Center, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.
12
Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, Center for Engineering and Health, and Skin Disease Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.

Abstract

Continuous monitoring of variations in blood flow is vital in assessing the status of microvascular and macrovascular beds for a wide range of clinical and research scenarios. Although a variety of techniques exist, most require complete immobilization of the subject, thereby limiting their utility to hospital or clinical settings. Those that can be rendered in wearable formats suffer from limited accuracy, motion artifacts, and other shortcomings that follow from an inability to achieve intimate, noninvasive mechanical linkage of sensors with the surface of the skin. We introduce an ultrathin, soft, skin-conforming sensor technology that offers advanced capabilities in continuous and precise blood flow mapping. Systematic work establishes a set of experimental procedures and theoretical models for quantitative measurements and guidelines in design and operation. Experimental studies on human subjects, including validation with measurements performed using state-of-the-art clinical techniques, demonstrate sensitive and accurate assessment of both macrovascular and microvascular flow under a range of physiological conditions. Refined operational modes eliminate long-term drifts and reduce power consumption, thereby providing steps toward the use of this technology for continuous monitoring during daily activities.

KEYWORDS:

Flexible electronics; Sensor; blood flow; circulation; skin; stretchable; thermal transport; wearable electronics

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