The development of wearable electronic devices is an emerging and exciting field in recent years. The wearable device must be soft, stretchable and mechanically conformable, which are important for interacting with human skin. 3D printing enables fast prototyping and complex design. In the age of “internet of things“, the ability to customize wearable sensors and a combination of 3D printing will lead to a new area of digital fabrication and a change of human life.
In this thesis, three types of sensor compatible with human skin will be printed via a 3D printer. Highly conductive, printable and stretchable silver composite will be used as ink. The first task is to print a wearable electronic circuit on a soft substrate. The conductivity and reliability would be tested. Then the next stage is to print a strain sensor. The sensitivity and cyclic stability will be defined. Similarly, a pressure sensor will be printed with the characterization of sensitivity and cyclic stability. After the success of these two sensors, a hybrid sensor combining strain and pressure sensor will be printed. All three sensors will be applied on a human body to demonstrate its sensibility and durability.
Figure. 3D printing platform for soft electronics and on-body test
[ Valentine et al., Advanced Materials, 2017]