Multifunctional wearable devices for diagnosis and therapy of movement disorders


Wearable systems that monitor muscle activity, store data and deliver feedback therapy are the next frontier in personalized medicine and healthcare. However, technical challenges, such as the fabrication of high-performance, energy-efficient sensors and memory modules that are in intimate mechanical contact with soft tissues, in conjunction with controlled delivery of therapeutic agents, limit the wide-scale adoption of such systems. Here, we describe materials, mechanics and designs for multifunctional, wearable-on-the-skin systems that address these challenges via monolithic integration of nanomembranes fabricated with a top-down approach, nanoparticles assembled by bottom-up methods, and stretchable electronics on a tissue-like polymeric substrate. Representative examples of such systems include physiological sensors, non-volatile memory and drug-release actuators. Quantitative analyses of the electronics, mechanics, heat-transfer and drug-diffusion characteristics validate the operation of individual components, thereby enabling system-level multifunctionalities.

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Figure 1: Wearable electronic patch composed of data storage modules, diagnostic tools and therapeutic actuating elements.
Figure 2: Langmuir–Blodgett assembly and SAM functionalization process.
Figure 3: Electrical characteristics of RRAMs in MIM, MISIM and MINIM structures.
Figure 4: Skin-conformable RRAM array with mechanical stretchability and chemical stability.
Figure 5: In vivo motion detection and data storage test.
Figure 6: Controlled transdermal drug delivery using the electroresistive heater and drug-loaded m-silica NPs.


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This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science. This work was also supported by a grant (2013M3A6A5073180) from the Center for Advanced Soft Electronics under the Global Frontier Research Program of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Korea, and by a grant from the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (2012R1A1A1004925). N.L. acknowledges startup funding from the Cockrell School of Engineering of the University of Texas at Austin. C.S.H. acknowledges support from the Global Research Laboratory Program (2012040157) through the NRF.

Author information

D.S., J.L. and D-H.K. designed the experiments. D.S., J.L., S.Q., R.G., J.K., S.J.K., S.Y., C.S., J.E.L., D.J.L., S.W.J., M.P., J.S., K.D., M.L., K.K., C.S.H., N.L., T.H. and D-H.K. performed experiments and analysis. D.S., J.L., S.Q., J.L., R.G., J.K., C.S.H., N.L., T.H. and D-H.K. wrote the paper.

Correspondence to Dae-Hyeong Kim.

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Son, D., Lee, J., Qiao, S. et al. Multifunctional wearable devices for diagnosis and therapy of movement disorders. Nature Nanotech 9, 397–404 (2014) doi:10.1038/nnano.2014.38

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