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Innovative, preparation-free, bio-electrodes for next-generation wearable devices

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Dryode (Innovative, preparation-free, bio-electrodes for next-generation wearable devices)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2019-11-30

In recent years, the wearable electronics industry has largely increased, branching out into general fitness and medical applications. Electrodes are the sensing elements embedded in the devices for biopotential monitoring such as Electromyography (EMG), Electrocardiography (ECG) and Electroencephalography (EEG). Developed for clinical monitoring, biopotential measurement entered the consumer application market, e.g. sports diagnostics (ECG), gesture control and training (EMG), brain-computer interfaces, gaming and VR (EEG) and stimulation. In this shift from the clinical setting to the consumer market, new requirements concerning electrodes usability challenged the state-of-the-art in the field. We at IDUN have developed the Dryode™, a portfolio of biopotential monitoring electrodes based on an innovative design. The Dryode™ technology is a portfolio of innovative soft & dry biopotential electrodes, designed for integration into any wearable devices such as smart watches, headbands or headphones to record or stimulate brain, heart and muscles activities and therefore give precious information about the health of human beings, to researchers as well as users of consumer wearable devices. What IDUN aims to achieve is not only to be the best interface between the user’s skin and wearable devices but also to unlock the potential of wearables in new fields of application, so far unexplored due to existing electrodes‘ constrains such as poor user comfort or lack of signal fidelity. Indeed, by enabling the use of electrodes in fields like underwater sports or for long-term monitoring, the Dryode™ breakthrough innovation opens-up a completely new market where competition is mostly inexistent.
During the feasibility assessment, IDUN has completed a full analysis of the technical and business potential of the DryodeTM. IDUN has greatly expanded its knowledge regarding the market validation and regulatory approval required for the European market launch and gained valuable information in defining the remaining technical activities to perform to ensure all MVP requirements are fulfilled. During the project, IDUN analysed in detail the go-to-market strategy to define the approach for accelerated and effective market uptake. A sound business model and commercialisation strategy was established for the anticipated market launch.
Electrodes based on conductive textiles, conductive polymers and metal electrodes, including semidry materials, are the main solutions available for the wearable device market. However, these solutions struggle to reach a good tradeoff between signal quality and usability: conductive textiles have good signal quality, but they are not comfortable, as they create scraping and prone to motion artefacts. Conductive polymers and metal electrodes are cheap but feature a low signal quality. Electrodes that use semidry material have better signal quality, although not sufficient, and are costly. Dryode’s technology differentiates itself from competitors through two main factors:
1) The selected materials are soft and stretchable, matching mechanical skin properties and highly conductive, based on silver microparticles.
2) The surface structures of Dryode’s materials increase the contact area to the skin for improved signal quality and adhere based on geometrical forces, ensuring continuous contact.
The breakthrough technology not only overcomes the limitations of existing wet or dry electrodes, with regards to signal quality in long-term monitoring and user comfort for the former, and motion artifacts for the later; it allows completely new wearable applications, for instance in underwater environments, through dense hairy scalp or through the ear canal, into a customized shape.