Physically compliant (flexible) electronics are scientifically intriguing, mechanically complex, technologically challenging with huge socio-economical potential. The flexible electronics market is expected to grow from USD 23.92 Billion in 2018 to USD 40.37 Billion by 2023. Until now the target applications for flexible electronics have been limited to displays, solar cells, and printed batteries. A fully flexible electronic system can open up a whole new era of novel applications. On the other hand, there has been a significant growth of IoT devices worldwide. In this Ph.D. research, expanding upon the horizon of applications for flexible electronics, I explore the integration of existing “things” into the IoT ecosystem. The overarching objective is to present low-cost solutions through the use of sustainable materials as active electronic materials and employ DIY integration strategies to build “Add on” standalone sensory systems, which can be attached to any existing things like a “decal”. The add-ons can be tagged on objects or living beings including humans. The objective of using DIY methods is benefited from the low cost readily available recyclable materials which allow anyone, with a little expertise, to create customized versions of add-on modules suited to their needs. The core of the system will have flexible silicon CMOS ICs for data management, instead of conventional rigid ICs. Today, when we think of improving the performance of anything, it has to be replaced by a much more costly and sophisticated new version. By using modular add-on modules, the functionality of most things can be enhanced further without the need of replacing it entirely. On one hand, I show a low-cost add-on module that adds “smart” capabilities to a normal prescription bottle while on the other hand a smart add-on module attached to a personal belonging helps protect it from theft. Finally, a paper-based acoustic sensor housed in Styrofoam packaging will be explored to perform chronic monitoring of respiratory disease while being attached non-invasively to the chest of a human. These modules can be potential lifesavers, while costing less than a few dollars, consequently becoming a critical utility for everyone.
|Date made available
|KAUST Research Repository