Miniaturized electromechanical devices for the characterization of the biomechanics of deep tissue

Enming Song, Zhaoqian Xie, Wubin Bai, Haiwen Luan, Bowen Ji, Xin Ning, Yu Xia, Janice Mihyun Baek, Yujin Lee, Raudel Avila, Huang Yu Chen, Jae Hwan Kim, Surabhi Madhvapathy, Kuanming Yao, Dengfeng Li, Jingkun Zhou, Mengdi Han, Sang Min Won, Xinyuan Zhang, Daniel J. MyersYongfeng Mei, Xu Guo, Shuai Xu, Jan Kai Chang, Xinge Yu, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Evaluating the biomechanics of soft tissues at depths well below their surface, and at high precision and in real time, would open up diagnostic opportunities. Here, we report the development and application of miniaturized electromagnetic devices, each integrating a vibratory actuator and a soft strain-sensing sheet, for dynamically measuring the Young’s modulus of skin and of other soft tissues at depths of approximately 1–8 mm, depending on the particular design of the sensor. We experimentally and computationally established the operational principles of the devices and evaluated their performance with a range of synthetic and biological materials and with human skin in healthy volunteers. Arrays of devices can be used to spatially map elastic moduli and to profile the modulus depth-wise. As an example of practical medical utility, we show that the devices can be used to accurately locate lesions associated with psoriasis. Compact electronic devices for the rapid and precise mechanical characterization of living tissues could be used to monitor and diagnose a range of health disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-771
Number of pages13
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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