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Biofuel-powered soft electronic skin with multiplexed and wireless sensing for human-machine interfaces

Yu, You and Nassar, Joanna and Xu, Changhao and Min, Jihong and Yang, Yiran and Dai, Adam and Doshi, Rohan and Huang, Adrian and Song, Yu and Gehlhar, Rachel and Ames, Aaron D. and Gao, Wei (2020) Biofuel-powered soft electronic skin with multiplexed and wireless sensing for human-machine interfaces. Science Robotics, 5 (41). Art. No. eaaz7946. ISSN 2470-9476. PMCID PMC7326328. doi:10.1126/scirobotics.aaz7946.

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Existing electronic skin (e-skin) sensing platforms are equipped to monitor physical parameters using power from batteries or near-field communication. For e-skins to be applied in the next generation of robotics and medical devices, they must operate wirelessly and be self-powered. However, despite recent efforts to harvest energy from the human body, self-powered e-skin with the ability to perform biosensing with Bluetooth communication are limited because of the lack of a continuous energy source and limited power efficiency. Here, we report a flexible and fully perspiration-powered integrated electronic skin (PPES) for multiplexed metabolic sensing in situ. The battery-free e-skin contains multimodal sensors and highly efficient lactate biofuel cells that use a unique integration of zero- to three-dimensional nanomaterials to achieve high power intensity and long-term stability. The PPES delivered a record-breaking power density of 3.5 milliwatt·centimeter⁻² for biofuel cells in untreated human body fluids (human sweat) and displayed a very stable performance during a 60-hour continuous operation. It selectively monitored key metabolic analytes (e.g., urea, NH₄⁺, glucose, and pH) and the skin temperature during prolonged physical activities and wirelessly transmitted the data to the user interface using Bluetooth. The PPES was also able to monitor muscle contraction and work as a human-machine interface for human-prosthesis walking.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Information InNature Electronics - Research Highlights InNature Electronics - Research Highlights -- Free ReadCube access CentralArticle
Yu, You0000-0001-7059-7023
Nassar, Joanna0000-0003-4463-8877
Min, Jihong0000-0002-5788-1473
Yang, Yiran0000-0001-8770-8746
Dai, Adam0000-0002-6823-1046
Song, Yu0000-0002-4185-2256
Gehlhar, Rachel0000-0002-4838-8839
Ames, Aaron D.0000-0003-0848-3177
Gao, Wei0000-0002-8503-4562
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Submitted 11 October 2019; Accepted 18 March 2020; Published 22 April 2020. This work was supported by California Institute of Technology Startup Grant, the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2) program, the Carver Mead New Adventures Fund, and NIH (no. 5R21NR018271) (all to W.G.). We gratefully acknowledge critical support and infrastructure provided for this work by the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. Author contributions: W.G. and Y.Y. conceived the project. W.G. supervised the studies and Y.Y. led the experiments. J.N., C.X., and Y.Y. contributed to the system development, fabrication, and characterization; J.M., A.D., and R.D. contributed to the electronic circuit design and test. A.H. and Y.S. contributed to sensor preparation and characterization. R.G. and A.D.A. contributed to the prosthesis control study. Y. Yu, Y. Yang, and W.G. contributed the data analysis and co-wrote the paper. All authors provided feedback on the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no competing financial interest. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper or the Supplementary Materials.
Group:Kavli Nanoscience Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2)UNSPECIFIED
Carver Mead New Adventures FundUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:41
PubMed Central ID:PMC7326328
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200422-130006132
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Y. Yu, J. Nassar, C. Xu, J. Min, Y. Yang, A. Dai, R. Doshi, A. Huang, Y. Song, R. Gehlhar, A. D. Ames, W. Gao, Biofuel-powered soft electronic skin with multiplexed and wireless sensing for human-machine interfaces. Sci. Robot. 5, eaaz7946 (2020)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102720
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Apr 2020 21:15
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:14

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