Large-area MRI-compatible epidermal electronic interfaces for prosthetic control and cognitive monitoring

Limei Tian, Benjamin Zimmerman, Aadeel Akhtar, Ki Jun Yu, Matthew Moore, Jian Wu, Ryan J. Larsen, Jung Woo Lee, Jinghua Li, Yuhao Liu, Brian Metzger, Subing Qu, Xiaogang Guo, Kyle E. Mathewson, Jonathan A. Fan, Jesse Cornman, Michael Fatina, Zhaoqian Xie, Yinji Ma, Jue ZhangYihui Zhang, Florin Dolcos, Monica Fabiani, Gabriele Gratton, Timothy Bretl, Levi J. Hargrove, Paul V. Braun, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Skin-interfaced medical devices are critically important for diagnosing disease, monitoring physiological health and establishing control interfaces with prosthetics, computer systems and wearable robotic devices. Skin-like epidermal electronic technologies can support these use cases in soft and ultrathin materials that conformally interface with the skin in a manner that is mechanically and thermally imperceptible. Nevertheless, schemes so far have limited the overall sizes of these devices to less than a few square centimetres. Here, we present materials, device structures, handling and mounting methods, and manufacturing approaches that enable epidermal electronic interfaces that are orders of magnitude larger than previously realized. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate devices for electrophysiological recordings that enable coverage of the full scalp and the full circumference of the forearm. Filamentary conductive architectures in open-network designs minimize radio frequency-induced eddy currents, forming the basis for structural and functional compatibility with magnetic resonance imaging. We demonstrate the use of the large-area interfaces for the multifunctional control of a transhumeral prosthesis by patients who have undergone targeted muscle-reinnervation surgery, in long-term electroencephalography, and in simultaneous electroencephalography and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalNature biomedical engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Device fabrication and development were carried out in part in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Research Facilities and Micro-Nano-Mechanical Systems Cleanroom, University of Illinois. L.T. acknowledges the support from Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship at UIUC. The materials and device engineering aspects of the research were supported by the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at Northwestern University. MRI experiments were performed at the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute, which also provided pilot hour support. K.J.Y. acknowledges the support from the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant nos NRF-2017R1C1B5017728 and NRF-2018M3A7B4071109) and the Yonsei University Future-leading Research Initiative (grant nos RMS2 2018-22-0028). Z.X. acknowledges the support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 11402134). Y.H. acknowledges the support from NSF (grant nos 1400169, 1534120 and 1635443). J.W.L. gratefully acknowledges support from National Research Foundation of Korea (grant nos NRF-2017M3A7B4049466 and NRF-2018R1C1B5045721). M.M. acknowledges the support provided by Beckman Institute Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships. F.D. acknowledges the support provided by a Helen Corley Petit Scholarship in Liberal Arts and Sciences and an Emanuel Donchin Professorial Scholarship in Psychology from the University of Illinois. The authors would like to thank F. Lam for valuable discussions on electromagnetic simulations. We thank representatives of BrainVision LLC and Easycap GmbH for helpful conversations related to the equipment adaptations required for this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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