Ph.D. student Morteza Alehosseini, DTU Health Tech, demonstrates that CareGum...
Ph.D. student Morteza Alehosseini, DTU Health Tech, demonstrates that CareGum is very stretchable.
Source: DTU Health Tech

A soft electronic material for human-machine-interfacing

Researchers at DTU Health Tech have developed a new material that can facilitate a near-perfect merger between machines and the human body for diagnostics and treatment.

The researchers have developed a new material - CareGum - that among other things has potential for monitoring motor impairment associated with neurological disorders such as Parkinson's.

A green material with many properties

The CareGum property portfolio is incredibly broad with feats such as skin-like softness, it is stretchable up to 30,000 % and has self-healing capacities reminiscent of that of natural tissues. It is printable, moldable, and electrically conductive. Notably, the electrical conductivity enables the material to respond to external stimuli and deliver information to an electronic circuit, while the printing capacity opens up avenues for the custom manufacture of personalized bioelectronics.

It is generated via a scalable route devoid of complicated and time-consuming chemical procedures. In brief, it consists of a biodegradable polymeric matrix, clay nanotubes extracted from the underground, and a super reactive green cross-linker (tannic acid) that undoubtedly has stimulated the taste buds of many wine drinkers, since it gives it its bitter and fruity taste. Therefore, CareGum is essentially a green, recyclable, and low-cost sensor (140 USD/Kg).

Diagnostics and treatment perspectives

Photo
CareGum properties.
Source: ACS Nano

Associate Professor Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz explains: "CareGums are essentially Bio-Adaptable Cyborg Sensors. They can link or merge synthetic materials and machinery with the human body in a seamless and comfortable manner for both diagnosis and treatment. We envision that our new material could be used to decipher the complex motion patterns that come into play in various movements or motions such as real-time monitoring of those, who are immobilized because of disease. We have for example shown that CareGum can be 3D printed to a sleeve of stretchable fabric to monitor movements of the hand."

The research team is currently working with the next version of the material, which will be able to monitor pH and temperature changes as well as important disease biomarkers, allowing for even further human-machine interaction.

"The body is highly combinatorial from a material point-of-view. Take for instance skin. It is one material, but yet, it can do so much with a broad range of properties including flexibility, self-healing capacity as well as temperature, mechanical strain, and perception sensing capacity. CareGum is exactly like that. It's soft, flexible, adaptable, healable, and almost animated. CareGum is not dead material. It is alive. It lives..." Associate Professor Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz enthuses.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Microneedles: Nano-sized, huge impact

Microneedles: Nano-sized, huge impact

By downscaling the needles tool to micrometer-size, researchers open even more areas of application for them, while bypassing some of the most important issues.

3D printed transparent fibers can sense breath

3D printed transparent fibers can sense breath

Researchers used 3D printing techniques to make electronic fibres, each 100 times thinner than a human hair, creating sensors beyond the capabilities of conventional film-based devices.

3D printed rubbery brain implants

3D printed rubbery brain implants

Engineers are working on developing soft, flexible neural implants that can gently conform to the brain’s contours and monitor activity over longer periods.

3D printed sensor invented for wearables

3D printed sensor invented for wearables

Researchers have utilized 3D printing and nanotechnology to create a durable, flexible sensor for wearable devices to monitor everything from vital signs to athletic performance.

Ingestible capsule can be controlled wirelessly

Ingestible capsule can be controlled wirelessly

Electronic pill can relay diagnostic information or release drugs in response to smartphone commands.

3D printed glucose biosensors

3D printed glucose biosensors

Using 3D printing, researchers developed a glucose monitor with much better stability and sensitivity than those manufactured through traditional methods.

3D printed objects sense how user is interacting with them

3D printed objects sense how user is interacting with them

Researchers have developed a method to integrate sensing capabilities into 3D printable structures comprised of repetitive cells.

Wearables made with laser-induced graphene

Wearables made with laser-induced graphene

Graphene could advance flexible electronics according to a Penn State-led international research team.

‘Smart’ shirt keeps tabs on the heart

‘Smart’ shirt keeps tabs on the heart

A flexible carbon nanotube fibers can be incorporated into clothing to function as wearable health monitors.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter