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 A Helmet Patch to Measure Brain Injury

This story is from the category Sensors
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Date posted: 18/10/2008

Since the start of the war in Iraq, soldiers have returned home at an alarming rate with a highly complex battlefield injury: traumatic brain injury (TBI). The injury, which is frequently caused by the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) or rocket-propelled grenade, can be difficult to detect and diagnose. The difficulty is made worse because the number and severity of the blasts to which a soldier has been exposed are often unknown.

In an effort to understand brain injuries, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $5 million, three-year contract to the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to develop a strip of plastic that can be "taped" onto a soldier's helmet to measure his or her exposure to explosions.

The tape, which will cost less than a dollar per strip, is a flexible plastic substrate that will contain printed electronics, analog memory, and sensors. It will record seven days' worth of information, which will then be transferred to a soldier's medical record. The disposable tape will be replaced.

The sensor tape being developed by PARC will be fabricated using its ink-jet printing technology, a patterning technique developed for large-area electronics, such as flexible, flat-panel displays, RFID tags, solar cells, and electronic paper. To print the components--electronics, memory, and sensors--on the tape, the ink-jet printer will deposit solution-processed materials, including organic semiconductors, polymer dielectrics, and metal nanoparticles, on a plastic substrate.

See the full Story via external site: www.technologyreview.com



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