Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
But very soon it was realized that WBS design is a complex activity [ 2 ]. First of
all, on account of its multidisciplinary nature, the process of development of bio-
electronic devices for diagnosis and monitoring requires knowledge and expertise
from many different disciplines: Medicine, Electronics, Computer, Design, Physics,
Mechanics, Chemistry and others [ 5 ]. Technological aspects such as the creation
of innovative circuits, the miniaturization of electronics and its implementation on
flexible substrates, are also closely linked to the issues related to wearability and
usability of technology, to design, to materials engineering and chemistry but also
to their characteristics and properties (washability, adhesion, sterilization,…).
Thus WBS are systems that integrate a complexity of components and technol-
ogies, each of them essential even in their extreme simplicity [ 3 ]: high technology
sensors, actuators, materials, wireless communication, power control and process-
ing unit, user interfaces, new algorithms for signal processing, chemical treatments
for washability and stability of the sensors are nothing without connectors, or their
proper smart positioning on the body in relation to the activity or gestures to be
monitored, and the anthropometric characteristics of the subjects,
Also the proper adhesion and fitting to the body of the sensorized garments is
crucial to obtain a good signal quality and minimization of artifacts during wear-
able monitoring: in this case a detailed analysis and study of elasticity and posi-
tion of these elastic fibers in the cloth and the development of a numeric machine
program for the automatic production of the garment itself are essential to obtain a
good-performing wearable sensor [ 2 ].
For a better overview of the items related to WBS we can distinguish five main
categories or sub-systems:
(1) hardware, i.e. the design and construction of new devices and sensors for the
reliable recording of physiological signals; their physical design should also
take into account shape and dimensional issues that make them ergonomic
and minimally invasive (or, even better, not intrusive);
(2) system's architecture, i.e. the implementation and management of sensors'
networks; for multifactorial monitoring often requires the development of sys-
tems to collect data from multiple wearable sensors and to transmit this infor-
mation to the related clinical center;
(3) software, i.e. the design and implementation of innovative algorithms to
extract clinically relevant information from data recorded using wearable
(4) materials and industrial processes, including in this context the study and
manufacture of textile materials and end products;
(5) ergonomics of each part of the system (garment, single sensor, device, soft-
ware), i.e. the study and design of the physical interface of the device and its
components (connectors, buttons, LEDs, displays, etc.) according to the user-
centered-design approach for defining the proper physical appearance of the
WBS (size, wearability, anthropometric adaptability, etc.) and cognitive study
and design of the graphical interfaces of the software supporting application
by the different users (patient, relatives, clinical staff).
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