Sensors (Jan 2018)

Textile Concentric Ring Electrodes for ECG Recording Based on Screen-Printing Technology

  • José Vicente Lidón-Roger,
  • Gema Prats-Boluda,
  • Yiyao Ye-Lin,
  • Javier Garcia-Casado,
  • Eduardo Garcia-Breijo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
p. 300


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Among many of the electrode designs used in electrocardiography (ECG), concentric ring electrodes (CREs) are one of the most promising due to their enhanced spatial resolution. Their development has undergone a great push due to their use in recent years; however, they are not yet widely used in clinical practice. CRE implementation in textiles will lead to a low cost, flexible, comfortable, and robust electrode capable of detecting high spatial resolution ECG signals. A textile CRE set has been designed and developed using screen-printing technology. This is a mature technology in the textile industry and, therefore, does not require heavy investments. Inks employed as conductive elements have been silver and a conducting polymer (poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate; PEDOT:PSS). Conducting polymers have biocompatibility advantages, they can be used with flexible substrates, and they are available for several printing technologies. CREs implemented with both inks have been compared by analyzing their electric features and their performance in detecting ECG signals. The results reveal that silver CREs present a higher average thickness and slightly lower skin-electrode impedance than PEDOT:PSS CREs. As for ECG recordings with subjects at rest, both CREs allowed the uptake of bipolar concentric ECG signals (BC-ECG) with signal-to-noise ratios similar to that of conventional ECG recordings. Regarding the saturation and alterations of ECGs captured with textile CREs caused by intentional subject movements, silver CREs presented a more stable response (fewer saturations and alterations) than those of PEDOT:PSS. Moreover, BC-ECG signals provided higher spatial resolution compared to conventional ECG. This improved spatial resolution was manifested in the identification of P1 and P2 waves of atrial activity in most of the BC-ECG signals. It can be concluded that textile silver CREs are more suitable than those of PEDOT:PSS for obtaining BC-ECG records. These developed textile electrodes bring the use of CREs closer to the clinical environment.