Thread-coating methods for wearables and implantables

Undergraduate Ege Ozgul, E23, presented a novel coating method for smart threads at the Materials Research Society’s Fall Meeting.
Undergraduate Ege Ozgul, E23

Researchers across Tufts School of Engineering continue to make advances in smart devices with threads that sense movement, tattoo-like sensors that can read blood oxygen levels, and wearable sweat sensors. In an area led at Tufts by the Nano Lab, the future of smart threads holds an array of possibilities, from wearable technology to implantable devices. Sensors and other smart technology are often embedded in fabric through coating the thread in a sensing material, but current dip-and-dry coating methods can lead to inconsistencies which make the overall technology less effective.

Electrical engineering major Ege Ozgul, E23, recently presented a unique, reel-to-reel method of thread coating at the Materials Research Society’s Fall Meeting in Boston. His presentation, titled “Reel to Reel fabrication of sensing threads,” was based on research he conducted in Tufts Nano Lab with PhD candidate in electrical engineering Wenxin Zeng and Professor Sameer Sonkusale of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The team’s method ensures constant tension on the thread as it is being coated, which yields more uniform coverage and performance on stretchable strain sensing thread. As the essential building block of many wearable technologies, improvements in thread coating have wide-reaching implications in medicine, consumer technology, and more.

The Materials Research Society is a member-based organization that brings together researchers from academia and industry to advance materials research. In addition to embedding nano-enabled sensors into thread and other unconventional materials, Tufts Nano Lab focuses on low power circuits and imagers that can see the invisible terahertz band.