Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Microfabrication, Flexible Electronics, Wearables, Sensors, Liquid Metal
Dr. Wedyan Babatain is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab - Tangible Media Group. She has an interdisciplinary background obtaining a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Bio-Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware, USA, in 2017, and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), KSA, in 2019. Her research focused on developing a wearable closed-loop feedback transdermal drug delivery platform. In 2022, Dr.Wedyan received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from KAUST where she focused on developing liquid metal-based inertial sensors for motion monitoring and human machine interfaces. Her research topics of interest include sensors, actuators, microfluidics, flexible and soft electronics for healthcare and environmental applications. She received the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) awarded by the Ministry of Education to complete her undergraduate studies in the US, the KAUST Graduate Fellowship for her graduate studies and the Ibn Khaldun Fellowship for her postdoctoral research at MIT. She was a finalist at the 2022 SXSW Innovation Awards and has presented her research projects prototypes at CES, SXSW, and IDTechEx. She is a member of the IEEE, BME society, and the secretary of the Electron Devices society chapter of western Saudi Arabia.
Graphene Coated Liquid Metal Droplet-Based Inertial Sensor for Motion Monitoring and Human Machine Interfaces
Inertial sensing technologies, including accelerometers and gyroscopes, have been invaluable in numerous fields ranging from consumer electronics to healthcare and clinical practices. Inertial measurement units, specifically accelerometers, represent the most widely used microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices with excellent and reliable performance. Although MEMS-based accelerometers have many attractive attributes, such as their tiny footprint, high sensitivity, high reliability, and multiple functionalities, they are limited by their complex and expensive microfabrication processes and cumbersome, fragile structures that suffer from mechanical fatigue over time. Moreover, the rigid nature of beams and spring-like structures of conventional accelerometers limit their applications for wearable devices and soft-human machine interfaces where physical compliance that is compatible with human skin is a priority. Here, the development of novel practical resistive and capacitive-type inertial sensors using liquid metal as a functional proof mass material is presented. Utilizing the unique electromechanical properties of liquid metal, the novel inertial sensor design confines a graphene-coated liquid metal droplet inside tubular and 3D architectures, enabling motion sensing in single and multiple directions. Combining the graphene-coated liquid metal droplet with printed sensing elements offers a robust fatigue-free alternative material for rigid, proof mass-based accelerometers. Resistive and capacitive sensing mechanisms were both developed, characterized, and evaluated. Emerging rapid fabrication technologies such as direct laser writing and 3D printing are mainly adopted, offering a scalable fabrication strategy independent of advanced microfabrication facilities. The developed inertial sensor was integrated with a programmable system on a chip (PSoC) to function as a stand-alone system and demonstrate its application for real-time- monitoring of human health/ physical activity and for soft human-machine interfaces. The proposed inertial sensor architecture and materials offer a new paradigm for manufacturing these widely used sensors that have the potential to complement the performance of their silicon-based counterparts and extend their applications.