Things to Keep in Mind While Designing Electrodes to Maximize Performance and Durability of Wearables

Designing Electrodes to Maximize Performance of Wearables
UCSD News

One of healthcare’s biggest trends is wearable technology. This is no surprise, as the wearables market revenue is projected to reach a market volume of US $18 billion by 2024 according to Statista. Wearables provide electroencephalography (EEG), used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain; electrocardiography (ECG), which measures the activity of the heart; electromyography (EMG), which measures neuromuscular activity; and electrooculography (EOG), a technique for measuring eye movement.

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In order for wearables to function across all of these categories, they must be equipped with sensors such as electrodes, reports Stefan Sevens in MDDI Online. Design engineers should consider these factors when designing medical devices with electrodes:

Electrodes should be made with materials that provide more convenience and better performance

Different material properties add to the general presentation of terminals. The kind of material decides the nature of execution and accommodation. For instance, elastomeric material (elastic) gives a non-abrasiveness contrasted with the more generally utilized metal or inflexible plastics, which empower the terminals to be utilized for a more extended timeframe with more prominent solace—by hours or even days. Datwyler’s terminals are designed with an agreeable elastic material to guarantee more noteworthy patient consistency.

Electrodes should be customized to improve patient comfort

Electrode manufacturers must consider designing electrodes that can better meet critical needs. They can make terminals that are tailored to fit the needs of device makers that are specific to the application, adjusting for various shapes and sizes. Shape and size are also important. For one, in-ear application electrode uses should adjust to the geometry of patient ear cavities. In-hair applications present challenges to receiving signals. For this type of application, engineers can work with a supplier to design electrodes in a brush format with pins for better penetration.

A fitness tracker on a wrist
Felix Wong

Electrodes should be designed to have the least challenges with performance

Manufacturers should keep in mind that patients will move during monitoring. This creates a challenge in keeping electrodes in place. A better fit will help to compensate that. Electrodes can be embedded in the contact area of the device such as a patch, a band, or something similar.

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Electrode signal quality must not be compromised

In any wearable device, it is important to have the correct balance of softness and comfort without sacrificing signal quality. Device designers should work closely with suppliers to customize solutions at the prototype phase. Depending on the specific use, strong electrodes can typically be used numerous times. Datwyler conducts a very stringent abrasion test to ensure that coatings on electrodes will stay intact for as many uses as possible, the MDDI Online report said.

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Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)wearable-technologies.com.