Quick-fabrication epidermal electronic heater with on-site temperature feedback control

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Stier, Andrew Clayton

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Smart wearable heaters can serve many important roles in the medical field, including thermal joint therapy, controlled transdermal drug delivery, and perioperative warming. Currently existing heaters are too bulky, rigid, or difficult to control to be used as wearable and mobile devices. There has been progress in the development of stretchable, conformable heaters, but they currently take significant time to produce. Also, they all lack sufficient temperature feedback control, which is necessary to accommodate the dynamic temperatures of the human epidermis and prevent burning. We present a cost-effective epidermal electronic heater that can be produced by the cut-and-paste method and has autonomous temperature control using on-site temperature feedback. The device comprises a heater layer and a resistance temperature detector (RTD) layer on a stretchable medical tape. The total thickness is less than 70 mm and the stretchability and stiffness are on par with human epidermis. We demonstrate the device’s ability to maintain specific temperatures over extended durations of time and accurately switch between different target temperatures without any prior knowledge of the relationship between power supplied to the heater and what temperature the skin will reach.


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