MSEC 18_abstract_Unawearables: New Wearable Sensors and Circuits for Unobtrusive Health and Fitness Monitoring

Unawearables: New Wearable Sensors and Circuits for Unobtrusive Health and Fitness Monitoring

Patrick Mercier
University of California, San Diego

Wearable devices hold considerable promise to diagnose, monitor, and treat various medical conditions and/or track the real-time status of athletes. However, most current generation wearable devices only monitor a limited number of physical and electrophysiological parameters that are, in many cases, only peripherally related to many health conditions or fitness enterprises. Furthermore, many such wearable devices are large, bulky, and rigid, thereby precluding seamless integration into daily life.

Addressing these issues requires:  1) development of new sensor technologies that provide more actionable data in thin, flexible form factors, and 2) engineering of supporting electronic infrastructure to condition, digitize, and transmit data in an extremely energy efficient manner. This presentation will discuss emerging sensor technologies that can non-invasively monitor physiochemistry (e.g., glucose, blood alcohol concentration, and lactate) in thin, flexible, wearable devices. We will also cover integrated circuit building blocks and architectures that make acquisition and telemetry of sensed information so energy-efficient that that they can be easily powered from new local energy sources (e.g., wearable glucose biofuel cells). Such net-zero-power operation will ultimately enable devices that are completely autonomous and invisible to the user, to the point where users are virtually unaware of their wearable devices after placement – in other words, they are “unawearable” devices.