NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 X13.02-9881
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Non-Wet Prep Electrodes
PROPOSAL TITLE: Practical Non-contact ECG Electrodes for Prep-free Monitoring

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
4685 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111 - 2339
(469) 951-2227

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Yu Chi
4685 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111 - 2339
(469) 951-2227

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Cognionics has developed a high-quality, low-noise, dry/non-contact ECG electrode that can obtain signals even through layers of clothing without any skin preparation. Although the idea of a non-contact electrode is not new and has been previously investigated by other research groups, a successful design has yet to be achieved due to unresolved issues relating to noise, artifacts and complexity.
The Cognionics technology is based in part on a novel custom integrated amplifier developed by the PI and licensed from the University of California, San Diego. The patent-pending amplifier is specifically optimized for high-impedance biopotential sensing and is able to achieve significantly better performance in terms of input impedance and noise than the discrete off-the-shelf components used in previous research efforts. In contrast to older designs, the Cognionics sensor requires no manual adjustments (neutralization), consumes a minimum of power (a few uWs) and is virtually insensitive to variations in the body-electrode coupling strength. The new amplifier combined with several Cognionics developed proprietary techniques has already yielded a non-contact sensor with significant improvements in signal quality even on fully ambulatory subjects.
The Phase I proposal will further develop the sensor to demonstrate full compliance with AAMI ECG specifications through both bench and live testing. In Phase I, a single lead non-contact chest strap will be produced to serve as an evaluation platform for delivery to NASA. A successful Phase I project will demonstrate that the core Cognionics non-contact sensor can fully meet NASA's signal quality requirements. The Phase II project will develop a full diagnostic ECG device for use in space environments and integrate the sensor within existing and future NASA systems (e.g., spacesuits).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The use of ECG monitoring has been an integral part of space flights for decades. Non-contact electrodes, which can be comfortably worn and never need replacement parts, represent the ideal tool for both continuous crew health monitoring as well as specific health experiments (e.g. exercise stress tests). The technology in this proposal, if successful, is a natural candidate for inclusion in all future NASA missions that require ECG recordings. The Cognionics non-contact ECG sensor in conjunction with either Cognionics-developed data acquisition systems, COTS ECG Holter monitors, or proprietary NASA body sensor systems, has the potential to significantly improve the usage (time, effort, comfort) of astronaut cardiac monitoring.

Additionally, the Cognionics sensor technology has application to EEG - a high-quality non-contact, comfortable and gel-less sensor can enable practical EEG applications to assess neurological function in space. Currently, EEG based systems are too cumbersome for the constraints of space environments. A high-quality, dry and through-hair EEG system could potentially lead to astronaut neurological monitoring (e.g., alertness/fatigue, sleep) systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Dry electrodes have been extensively studied for medical applications. Despite the current advancements in mobile and wireless technologies, a better sensor technology is still critically needed to enable future medical devices. Achieving a successful, high-quality non-contact sensor will significantly improve the way outpatient ECG monitoring is performed. Current outpatient monitoring devices (e.g., Holter, event monitors) would no longer need adhesive electrodes or skin contact, greatly improving patient comfort and compliance. It may also enable new techniques, including:

a) practical high-resolution, surface voltage mapping (BSPM) which has demonstrated promising results towards non-invasive arrhythmia diagnosis but currently requires time consuming and expensive application of large numbers of sensors,

b) high-quality, patient-friendly, non-contact electrodes may lead to routine ECG monitoring (e.g. ECG as a part of every doctor office visit),

c) non-contact ECG will be especially useful for sensitive subjects (e.g., neonates, burn victims).

d) and high-quality non-contact biopotential electrodes have, in the long-term, significant clinical implications in neurology (e.g. sleep, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases) by enabling a comfortable, wearable and mobile EEG device.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Biological (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Health Monitoring & Sensing (see also Sensors)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43