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A Study of Six-Axis MEMS Sensors for Load Detection in Biomedical Applications Open Access


Other title
microelectromechanical systems
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Benfield, David C.
Supervisor and department
Lou, Edmond (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Moussa, Walied (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Xia, Zihui (Mechanical Engineering)
Mrad, R. Ben (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto)
Duke, Kajsa (Mechanical Engineering)
Carey, Jason (Mechanical Engineering)
Adeeb, Samer (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Quantification of the loads applied in biomedical applications has the potential to increase patient safety during surgical procedures and to improve the knowledge of the mechanical behavior of biological tissues. To capture the complexity of loads in biological systems, the acquisition of 3D forces and moments at multiple locations represents an optimal solution. In order to be implemented successfully, a sensor platform with these capabilities should be compact, biocompatible, and minimally invasive. A solution for a specific application in scoliosis correction surgery has been examined in detail. This solution consists of multiple piezoresistive microelectromechanical systems sensors deployed onto existing surgical equipment in a form that allows them to transmit six-axis load information wirelessly. This research has been divided into five main phases: the design and numerical simulation of interfacial piezoresistive sensor pads, microfabrication and device design refinement, characterization of the sensor pads to determine parametric effects on device sensitivity, packaging of sensor pads to integrate wireless and power components and to install them on the surgical equipment, and finally the calibration of the packaged six-axis sensor array. The sensor array developed was determined to be capable of detecting 3D forces and moments with high sensitivity over a limited range, with appropriate power consumption for the scoliosis surgery application.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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