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Scientists Construct World’s Lightest, Thinnest Signal Amplifier for Bioinstrumentation Use

The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (ISIR), Osaka University

Researchers from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University have successfully created a new differential amplifier that is incredibly light and thin. Experts intend to use this innovative new technology for bioinstrumentation; in their demonstrations, they showed how their device is capable of high-precision monitoring of electrocardiac signals, while simultaneously providing researchers with reduced noise levels.

Traditionally, bioinstrumentation devices have been used in the healthcare and medical fields to monitor a patient’s biosignals, including those from the heart and circulatory system. However, this technology has been constructed out of materials such as silicon transistors, which are hard and unyielding. This means that when the devices come into contact with biological tissue, which is soft and oftentimes sensitive, the tissue has a tendency to become inflamed and cause considerable discomfort to the user.

Hoping to construct a bioinstrumentation circuit capable of being worn comfortably over long periods of time without suffering any decay in performance, scientists began to investigate their options. After much trial and error, they were able to construct a bioinstrumentation circuit that is flexible enough to move with the human body. To achieve this, they took organic transistors and integrated them on a plastic film that was both thin and flexible. This resulted in a device that was lightweight enough to comfortably rest against organic tissue without causing inflammation.

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The differential amplifier, as it is generally known, has other advantages besides being thin and lightweight. It is capable of reducing disturbance noise, allowing scientists to more clearly hear the biosignals of a patient’s body. Testing proved that the new differential amplifier is capable of monitoring electrocardiac signals in real time, while simultaneously reducing the ambient noise levels.

Experts believe that this technology could not only provide greater comfort for patients that rely on these devices, it could provide medical professionals with a better understanding of the inner workings of the human body. The team hopes that their technology could one day be used to monitor even the weaker biosignals of the human body, such as brain waves or the cardiac rhythm of a fetus.

The researchers will continue to streamline their new technology and work on developing wearable devices that provide comprehensive medical information while at the same time being so comfortable that users will barely know they are even there.

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