Wearable Lab and BioFab on Body : Towards Closed-Loop Bio-Digital Human Augmentation

Aug. 1, 2020


Pataranutaporn, Pat. Wearable Lab and BioFab on Body : Towards Closed-Loop Bio-Digital Human Augmentation. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2020.


We explore the vision of closed-loop bio-digital interfaces for human augmentation, where the bio-digital system allows for both sensing and writing biological information to the body. Current-generation wearable devices sense an individual's physiological data such as heart rate, respiration, electrodermal activity, and EEG,  but lack in sensing their biological counterparts, which drive the majority of individual's physiological signals. On the other hand, biosensors for detecting biochemical markers are currently limited to one-time use, are non-continuous and don't provide flexibility in choosing which biomarker they sense. We believe that the future for wearable biosensors lies in going beyond specific sensing capabilities and becoming a wearable "lab" on body, where a small device can offer a fully integrated and re-configurable system that mimics several processes usually performed in the laboratory for clinical diagnostics and analysis of human health. To illustrate our vision of having a lab on body, we prototyped "Wearable Lab" a bio-digital platform for sensing biochemical and digital data from saliva. Our platform contains digital sensors such as an IMU for activity recognition, as well as an automated system for continuous sampling of biomarkers from saliva by leveraging existing paper-based biochemical sensors. The platform could aid with longitudinal studies of biomarkers and early diagnosis of diseases. We present example data collected from the device, show a preliminary evaluation, and discuss the limitation of our platform.

Pat Pataranutaporn*

Thesis Committee

Pattie Maes, MIT Media Lab

George Church, Harvard Medical School

David S Kong, MIT Media Lab

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