Dr Kai Yang has developed an everyday fabric-based electrode for wearable medical devices so that stroke sufferers and people in need of pain relief can get electrical stimulation treatment in a far more practical way than ever before.
Traditional electrodes (made from hydrogel) are not ideal for wearable applications as they are sticky, have a limited lifetime, need to be kept in a sealed bag to stop moisture evaporation, and are incompatible with clothing.
Dr Kai Yang's fabric electrode can be applied on the skin directly without using any gel. Everyday fabrics and clothing items such as an arm band or sleeve can have the electrodes added to suit various needs. The fabric-based electrode is comfortable to wear, easy to use, washable and unobtrusive.
The fabric electrode can be used to deliver Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for stroke rehabilitation; TENS for pain relief (e.g. arthritis, back pain, neck pain) and health monitoring (e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG).
As a Principal Investigator, Kai has secured £1.1M research funding from the Medical Research Council for a multi-disciplinary team to develop a wearable FES training system for home based stroke rehabilitation using the fabric electrode together with advanced control and sensor technologies. The FES training system will enable stroke survivors to conduct rehabilitation activities without the need of a carer or therapist. Kai plans to bring the fabric-based wearable FES training system to market in 2019.