Design007 Magazine

Design007-Mar2021

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MARCH 2021 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 77 ible circuit that are truly critical, include them on the drawing. If the features are not critical, either leave them off or make them a reference. Work with your customer to ensure that draw- ing dimensions with tight tolerances are indeed critical, and not unnecessarily over-dimen- sioned. Again, dimensions with extremely tight tolerances are cost drivers! One last thought: Always keep in mind the environment in which the circuit is used. My job as a flex engineer is to assist you by ask- ing questions about how the circuit needs to be designed to ensure it will be able to survive the environment in which it must exist. Always inform your flex engineer about any environ- mental requirements such as temperature extremes, chemicals, and/or moisture expo- sure, vibration, static or dynamic flexing, and voltage and current requirements. is will ensure that all factors are considered in your design. FLEX007 Tony Plemel is a flexible circuit applications engineer with Flexible Circuit Technologies. One day, a wearable, bioelectronic device could wirelessly transmit a person's vital signs—potentially providing critical information for early detection of health issues such as COVID-19 or heart disease— to a healthcare provider, eliminating the need for an in-person visit while also saving lives. University of Missouri engineers are advancing the commercial market for wearable bioelectronics by developing a large-scale manufacturing plan for a customizable device capable of simultaneously tracking multiple vital signs such as blood pressure, heart activity and skin hydration. "While the biosensors for these devices have already been developed, we now want to combine them to mass produce a porous patch with multiple bioelectronic components," said Zheng Yan, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering. "The components can also be customized to fit the individual health needs of the user." Yan recently received a more than $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Develop- ment Program, or CAREER, to begin a plan for mass production of the low-cost device. An NSF grant allows Yan to build on his previous work demonstrating a proof of concept of a small patch that works as a breathable and waterproof on-skin elec- tronic device with passive cooling capabili- ties. Yan said existing wearable devices usually con- sist of bioelectronics supported by a flexible, solid material—typically plastic or silicone—called a sub- strate. He wants to optimize the material to be soft, breathable, comfortable, lightweight, and water- proof. Also, to mass produce the bioelectronic sen- sors, Yan is researching how to print them directly onto the supportive material using a method called mask-free inkjet printing. (Source: University of Missouri) Detecting COVID-19 With a Sticker on Your Skin University of Missouri engineers are advancing the com- mercial market for wearable bioelectronics by developing a large-scale manufacturing plan for a customizable device capable of simultaneously tracking multiple vital signs such as blood pressure, heart activity and skin hydration.

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