Biomimetic Self-Adhesive Dry EEG Electrodes This three-year, non-hypothesis driven, biomedical engineering project aims to develop a novel skin-surface electroencephalogram (EEG) electrode. This new electrode does not require application of electrolyte; is able to penetrate scalp hair easily during electrode placement; can be quickly applied and removed; has low and stable electrode impedance; and has an extraordinary ability to self-adhere to the scalp without glue or tape. Its unconventional design is inspired from a biological system (the toe of geckos) which has shown clear effectiveness in the natural environment. Our design will be implemented by modern manufacturing techniques such as photolithography and wet chemistry synthesis which promise future mass production of the new electrode at low cost. The electroencephalogram (EEG) provides a unique window to observe the functional activity within the brain. The EEG is also a key technology utilized in non-invasive brain-computer interfaces which have generated tremendous research interests in recent years. As the EEG evolves from its traditional role as a neurological diagnostic modality in clinical laboratories to an important brain signal that interfaces with a variety of man-made systems in both clinical and non-clinical settings, both the signal acquisition and data processing methods have improved rapidly. In contrast to these scientific and technological advances, the procedures for affixing EEG electrodes to the scalp have not advanced adequately. These manual procedures are long and tedious for EEG technicians, and are uncomfortable and sometimes painful for patients because of the requirement to remove the top skin layer which has a high electrical resistance. The labor and facility usage costs for electrode installation are a significant portion of the total cost for clinical EEG studies, and the acceptance of EEG in non-clinical settings (e.g., home based monitoring, sleep study, and brain-computer interface) has been hindered significantly. This research will provide an effective solution to this long-standing EEG electrode placement problem. We will construct a biomimetic electrode, called the GT electrode, using advanced mechanical processing and nanotechnology, and conduct a two-stage validation of the new design. In order to translate our laboratory findings to successful clinical practice, we will also investigate methods to apply GT electrodes to the existing EEG systems.

Public Health Relevance

Although the electroencephalogram (EEG) provides a unique window to observe functional activity within the brain, the manual procedures for affixing electrodes on the scalp are long and tedious. This application aims at developing a novel EEG electrode which does not require application of electrolyte;is able to penetrate scalp hair easily during electrode placement;can be quickly applied and removed;has low and stable electrode impedance;and has an extraordinary ability to self-adhere to the scalp without glue or tape.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-NT-L (09))
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Peng, Grace
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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