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Title: Screen printed textile based wearable biopotential monitoring
Author: Paul, Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 7297
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis describes the development of printed wearable electrode networks on textiles for monitoring human biopotentials from the skin surface. The aim was to fabricate garments to monitor human biopotentials, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), on a long term basis. A literature review was carried out to examine fabrication methods for wearable electrode networks on textile and screen printing is selected for this work. Several conductive and insulating screen printable pastes were then evaluated for this application and suitable pastes were selected. Screen printing was used to create networks of conductive tracks on the surface of woven textiles. These networks connect electrodes at different sites to electronics at a central location. The conductive tracks are composed of a silver polymer layer with thickness 5-10μm entirely encapsulated in polyurethane. The durability of these printed conductive tracks is investigated with cyclic stress and washing machine tests. A significant improvement in the durability of these tracks is achieved by using two different polyurethane pastes and optimising the screen printed layer structure. Tracks that can reliably endure 10 typical domestic machine washes without breaking are demonstrated. Carbon loaded silicone rubber is stencil printed to form electrodes on exposed conductive pads at the terminations of screen printed conductive tracks. The carbon loaded rubber formulation is optimised to provide electrodes with low resistivity, low surface energy and high flexibility. By using stencil printing rather than screen printing, the thickness of the electrodes is increased, causing them to protrude from the textile surface, which is useful in ensuring stable electrode-skin contact. Passive and active electrodes are fabricated on woven textiles using screen and stencil printing, and their performance is evaluated. The passive electrodes have issues with DC instability, but have suitable performance for some electromyography tasks and basic heart rate monitoring. The active electrodes show comparable performance with the gold standard, commercial Ag/AgCl electrodes. The printed textile electrode networks are demonstrated in four applications: a one-lead bipolar heart monitoring belt, a Frank configuration vector-cardiogram monitoring vest, a headband as an electromyographic (EMG) and electrooculographic (EOG) computer interface, and an armband used to examine electromyographic activity in the upper arm. Screen printing on textiles is shown to be a low-cost alternative fabrication process for durable wearable electrode networks on textiles, capable of providing high signal quality. These printed textile electrode networks are shown to be applicable to ambulatory monitoring, to reduce the associated cost and discomfort, and in hospitals and research to reduce electrode setup time.
Supervisor: Beeby, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science ; T Technology (General) ; TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering