Affordable and Scalable Manufacturing of Wearable Multi-Functional Sensory “Skin” for Internet of Everything Applications

  • Joanna M. Nassar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Demand for wearable electronics is expected to at least triple by 2020, embracing all sorts of Internet of Everything (IoE) applications, such as activity tracking, environmental mapping, and advanced healthcare monitoring, in the purpose of enhancing the quality of life. This entails the wide availability of free-form multifunctional sensory systems (i.e “skin” platforms) that can conform to the variety of uneven surfaces, providing intimate contact and adhesion with the skin, necessary for localized and enhanced sensing capabilities. However, current wearable devices appear to be bulky, rigid and not convenient for continuous wear in everyday life, hindering their implementation into advanced and unexplored applications beyond fitness tracking. Besides, they retail at high price tags which limits their availability to at least half of the World’s population. Hence, form factor (physical flexibility and/or stretchability), cost, and accessibility become the key drivers for further developments. To support this need in affordable and adaptive wearables and drive academic developments in “skin” platforms into practical and functional consumer devices, compatibility and integration into a high performance yet low power system is crucial to sustain the high data rates and large data management driven by IoE. Likewise, scalability becomes essential for batch fabrication and precision. Therefore, I propose to develop three distinct but necessary “skin” platforms using scalable and cost effective manufacturing techniques. My first approach is the fabrication of a CMOS-compatible “silicon skin”, crucial for any truly autonomous and conformal wearable device, where monolithic integration between heterogeneous material-based sensory platform and system components is a challenge yet to be addressed. My second approach displays an even more affordable and accessible “paper skin”, using recyclable and off-the-shelf materials, targeting environmental mapping through 3D stacked arrays, or advanced personalized healthcare through the developed “paper watch” prototype. My last approach targets a harsh environment waterproof “marine skin” tagging system, using marine animals as allies to study the marine ecosystem. The “skin” platforms offer real-time and simultaneous monitoring while preserving high performance and robust behaviors under various bending conditions, maintaining system compatibility using cost-effective and scalable approaches for a tangible realization of a truly flexible wearable device.
Date of AwardOct 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering
SupervisorMuhammad Mustafa Hussain (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Electronic Skin
  • Sensors
  • Multifunctionality
  • Flexible
  • Affordable
  • scalable manufacturing

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