Batteries not Included: Circuits and Systems that Sense, Stretch, and Self-Power

Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Abstract: A host of changes are in store for future electronic devices, enabled in part by broad advancements in power, packaging, and performance of integrated circuits and sensors systems. In this talk, I’ll survey a few of the avenues we are pursuing to help move this forward, from battery-less sensor systems to stretchable circuits.

Future wearable devices and other deployed sensor systems, including smart agriculture or environmental monitoring, will require new approaches for long-term powering and operation that avoid individual battery recharging. I will present some of our recent work in low-voltage energy harvesting and low-power integrated circuits applied to wearable devices, including improvements in DC-DC converters and complete thermoelectric energy harvesting solutions - including a true battery-less, wearable bioelectronic sensor powered by body heat.

Advanced wearable devices will also require new packaging approaches, where existing rigid and flexible circuits severely limit bending and stretching. This is broadly true for wearable sensors and actuators, as well as conformable electronic skins and smart textiles, soft robots, and emerging physical human-machine interfaces. I will present some of our ongoing work leveraging printed liquid metal materials to build stretchable electrical interconnects between electronic components. This approach allows us to build multi-layer "stretchable PCBs," moving toward a future where electronic sensors and circuits can be integrated in a variety of material systems that move, bend, and stretch to new limits.

Bio: Matthew L. Johnston received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, New York, NY. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University, where he joined in 2014. Dr. Johnston was co-founder and manager of research at Helixis, a Caltech-based spinout developing instrumentation for real-time PCR, from 2007 until its acquisition by Illumina in 2010. From 2012 to 2013 he was a postdoctoral scholar in the Bioelectronic Systems Lab at Columbia University. He is also a co-founder of Chimera Instruments, which designs high-speed electrophysiology amplifiers used by biophysics researchers around the world.

Dr. Johnston currently runs the Sensors and Integrated Microelectronics Laboratory (SIM Lab) at Oregon State University, which leverages custom integrated circuit design and post-fabrication to build miniaturized sensor systems. His current research interests include integration of sensors and transducers with active CMOS substrates, lab-on-CMOS platforms for label-free chemical and biological sensing, bio-energy harvesting, stretchable circuits, and low-power distributed sensing applications. He serves as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems (TBioCAS) and of the new IEEE Open Journal of Circuits and Systems (OJCAS), and he was the recipient of the 2020 SRC Young Faculty Award.

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