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New Device Powers Wearable Sensors Through Human Motion


Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has been developing sensors as well as novel approaches to power them. Previously, he created a sensor that could monitor health indicators in human sweat that is powered by sweat itself. Now, Gao has developed a new way to power wireless wearable sensors: He harvests kinetic energy that is produced by a person as they move around. "Instead of using fancy materials, we use commercially available flexible circuit boards," he says. "This material is cheap and very durable and mechanically robust over long periods of time." [Caltech story]

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Professor Gao Unveils Sensor that Rapidly Detects COVID-19 Infection Status, Severity, and Immunity


One feature of the COVID-19 virus that makes it so difficult to contain is that it can be easily spread to others by a person who has yet to show any signs of infection. Professor Wei Gao has developed a new type of multiplexed test (a test that combines multiple kinds of data) with a low-cost sensor that may enable the at-home diagnosis of a COVID infection through rapid analysis of small volumes of saliva or blood, without the involvement of a medical professional, in less than 10 minutes. "This is the only telemedicine platform I've seen that can give information about the infection in three types of data with a single sensor," Gao says. "In as little as a few minutes, we can simultaneously check these levels, so we get a full picture about the infection, including early infection, immunity, and severity." [Caltech story]

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Isabella Yang receives Baxter Young Investigator Award


Graduate student Yiran (Isabella) Yang, working with Professor Wei Gao, has received a first-tier Baxter Young Investigator Award for her research on a wearable sweat sensor for clinical nutrition. This award is given for an outstanding research work which aligns with Baxter’s mission of saving and sustaining patients’ lives.

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Wei Gao Receives IEEE EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award


Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has won the 2020 IEEE EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award for innovative and pioneering contributions in the field of bioelectronic devices from wearable biosensors for continuous personalized health monitoring to synthetic micro/nanorobotics for in vivo biomedical applications. This award is given annually to an individual for significant contributions to the field of biomedical engineering as evidenced by innovative research design, product development, patents, and/or publications made by an individual who is within 10 years of completing their highest degree at the time of the nomination.

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Professor Gao Named Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum


Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has been selected as a 2020 Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum. Each year the selection Committee honours 25 Young Scientists under the age of 40 in recognition of their contribution to cutting-edge research. Candidates are selected based on their achievements in expanding the boundaries of knowledge and practical applications of science in issues as diverse as child psychology, chemical oceanography and artificial intelligence. Gao's research is focused on developing skin-interfaced wearable biosensors that will enable analytics through sweat rather than blood, leading to non-invasive and real-time analysis and timely medical intervention. [2020 Young Scientists] [Brochure]

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Electronic Skin Fully Powered by Sweat Can Monitor Health


One of the ways we experience the world around us is through our skin. From sensing temperature and pressure to pleasure or pain, the many nerve endings in our skin tell us a great deal. Our skin can also tell the outside world a great deal about us as well. Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering has developed an electronic skin, or e-skin, that is applied directly on top of your real skin. "We want this system to be a platform," he says. "In addition to being a wearable biosensor, this can be a human–machine interface. The vital signs and molecular information collected using this platform could be used to design and optimize next-generation prosthetics." [Caltech story]

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Best Student Paper Award at IEEE CICC Conference


Professor Azita Emami's group in collaboration with Professor Wei Gao’s group has won the best student paper award at the 2020 IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference. The title of the paper is "A Fully-Integrated Biofuel-Cell-Based Energy Harvester with 86% Peak Efficiency and 0.25V Minimum Input Voltage Using Source-Adaptive MPPT." The IEEE CICC is a premier conference devoted to integrated circuit development. The conference program is a blend of oral presentations, exhibits, panels and forums. The conference sessions present original first published technical work and innovative circuit techniques that tackle practical problems. [Read the paper] [Past recipients]

Tags: EE honors MedE Kuan-Chang Chen Azita Emami Wei Gao Arian Hashemi You Yu Abhinav Agarwal William Kuo Minwo Wang Gudrun Hoskuldsdottir

Sweat Sensor Detects Stress Levels; May Find Use in Space Exploration


Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has produced a wireless sweat sensor that can accurately detect levels of cortisol, a natural compound that is commonly thought of as the body's stress hormone. This could allow for more widespread and easier monitoring of stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. "We aim to develop a wearable system that can collect multimodal data, including both vital sign and molecular biomarker information, to obtain the accurate classification for deep space stress and anxiety," Gao says. [Caltech story]

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Wearable Sweat Sensor Detects Gout-Causing Compounds


In a new paper published in Nature Biotechnology, Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, describes a mass-producible wearable sensor that can monitor levels of metabolites and nutrients in a person's blood by analyzing their sweat. Gao's sweat sensor is more sensitive than current devices and can detect sweat compounds of much lower concentrations, in addition to being easier to manufacture. "Considering that abnormal circulating nutrients and metabolites are related to a number of health conditions, the information collected from such wearable sensors will be invaluable for both research and medical treatment," Gao says. [Caltech story] [Read the paper]

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Professor Wei Gao Receives IEEE Sensors Council Award


Professor Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering has received the 2019 IEEE Sensors Council Award for his "pioneering work on wearable and flexible chemical sensors toward continuous and personalized health monitoring." [List of award recipients]

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