Researchers from Canada’s Simon Fraser University are enabling humanoid-sensing robots to take patient blood pressure using origami- and leech-inspired sensors.

The researchers reportedly mimicked the suction and folding mechanisms characteristic of both leeches and origami respectively to build the 3D-printed leech-inspired origami (LIO) sensors.

Incorporated into the fingertips of the humanoid-sensing robots, the LIO sensors can monitor a patient’s blood pressure based on data from electrocardiogram (ECG) and photoplethysmogram (PPG) readings, as captured by the LIO sensors when the robot’s hand is placed on the patient’s chest.

The patient’s systolic blood pressure — the top number, which measures the force the heart exerts on artery walls as it beats — and diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number, which measures the force the heart exerts on the walls of the arteries between beats — is determined when predetermined algorithms are used in conjunction with the signals captured by the sensors. This is reportedly accomplished without using traditional blood pressure cuffs.

The LIO sensors could, according to the researchers, pave the way for assistive healthcare robots that monitor patient vital signs of remote patients.

The research appears in the article, 3D printed leech-inspired origami dry electrodes for electrophysiology sensing robots, which is published in the journal npj Flexible Electronics.

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