Low-Cost Inkjet-Printed Wireless Sensor Nodes for Environmental and Health Monitoring Applications
AuthorsFarooqui, Muhammad Fahad
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AbstractIncrease in population and limited resources have created a growing demand for a futuristic living environment where technology enables the efficient utilization and management of resources in order to increase quality of life. One characteristic of such a society, which is often referred to as a ‘Smart City’, is that the people are well informed about their physiological being as well as the environment around them, which makes them better equipped to handle crisis situations. There is a need, therefore, to develop wireless sensors which can provide early warnings and feedback during calamities such as floods, fires, and industrial leaks, and provide remote health care facilities. For these situations, low-cost sensor nodes with small form factors are required. For this purpose, the use of a low-cost, mass manufacturing technique such as inkjet printing can be beneficial due to its digitally controlled additive nature of depositing material on a variety of substrates. Inkjet printing can permit economical use of material on cheap flexible substrates that allows for the development of miniaturized freeform electronics. This thesis describes how low-cost, inkjet-printed, wireless sensors have been developed for real-time monitoring applications. A 3D buoyant mobile wireless sensor node has been demonstrated that can provide early warnings as well as real-time data for flood monitoring. This disposable paper-based module can communicate while floating in water up to a distance of 50 m, regardless of its orientation in the water. Moreover, fully inkjet-printed sensors have been developed to monitor temperature, humidity and gas levels for wireless environmental monitoring. The sensors are integrated and packaged using 3D inkjet printing technology. Finally, in order to demonstrate the benefits of such wireless sensor systems for health care applications, a low-cost, wearable, wireless sensing system has been developed for chronic wound monitoring. The system called ‘Smart Bandage’ can provide early warnings and long term data for medical diagnoses. These demonstrations show that inkjet printing can enable the development of low-cost wireless sensors that can be dispersed in the environment or worn on the human body to enable an internet of things (IoT), which can facilitate better and safer living.