Engineers unveil new self-powered heart monitor made with polyvinyl alcohol

Researchers have developed self-powered triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) that can monitor a patient’s cardiovascular health, sharing their findings in Advanced Materials.

The wearable devices were crafted using polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and use the user’s own energy for power. They can detect such conditions as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and ischemic heart disease.

“The PVA-based TENGs show great potential for self-powered biomedical devices and open doors to new technologies that use widely deployed biocompatible materials for economically feasible and ecologically friendly production of functional devices in energy, electronics and sensor applications,” corresponding author Wenzhuo Wu, MD, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Purdue, said in a statement. “We transform PVA, one of the most widely used polymers for biomedical applications, into wearable, self-powered triboelectric devices which can detect the imperceptible degree of skin deformation induced by human pulse and capture the cardiovascular information encoded in the pulse signals with high fidelity.”

The full analysis from Advanced Materials is available here.