A team from Purdue University developed self-powered wearable triboelectric nanogenerators with polyvinyl alcohol-based contact layers for monitoring cardiovascular health.
July 22, 2020 — A team from Purdue University has developed self-powered wearable triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based contact layers for monitoring cardiovascular health. TENGs help conserve mechanical energy from body movement and turn it into power for wearable health monitors.
The Purdue team’s work is published in the journal Advanced Materials.
“The PVA-based TENGs show great potential for self-powered biomedical devices and open doors to new technologies that use widely deployed biocompatible materials for economically feasible and ecologically friendly production of functional devices in energy, electronics and sensor applications,” said Wenzhuo Wu, the Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering, who led the development team. “We transform PVA, one of the most widely used polymers for biomedical applications, into wearable, self-powered triboelectric devices which can detect the imperceptible degree of skin deformation induced by human pulse and capture the cardiovascular information encoded in the pulse signals with high fidelity.”
Cardiovascular health is typically measured by echocardiogram to measure electrical activity in the heart or photoplethysmography that measures changes in blood volume in the peripheral microvasculature.
“These technologies can often be invasive to patients and have not yet been adapted into wearables for personalized on-demand monitoring,” Wu said. “TENGs with PVA blend contact layers produce fast readout with distinct peaks for blood ejection, blood reflection in the lower body, and blood rejection from the closed aortic valve, which may enable detection of common cardiovascular diseases such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and ischemic heart disease.”
Wu said PVA offers a valuable opportunity as potential constituents in future wearable self-powered devices. The PVA-based triboelectric devices can harvest the mechanical energy from the human body and use such electric power to support the operations of other biomedical devices.
Wu said the PVA-based triboelectric devices can function as self-powered sensors to detect and monitor the mechanical activities from the human body in applications such as health monitoring, human-machine interface, teleoperated robotics, consumer electronics and virtual and augmented technologies.
The team worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology. The creators are looking for partners to commercialize their technology
Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization
The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents.
1. Ruoxing Wang Liwen Mu Yukai Bao Han Lin Tuo Ji Yijun Shi Jiahua Zhu Wenzhuo Wu. Holistically Engineered Polymer–Polymer and Polymer–Ion Interactions in Biocompatible Polyvinyl Alcohol Blends for High‐Performance Triboelectric Devices in Self‐Powered Wearable Cardiovascular Monitorings. Advanced Materials. First published: 28 June 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202002878