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Noh and Colleague Awarded UMass Armstrong Award to Support Research on Battery-less Wearable Sensors

Yeon-sik Noh

Yeon-sik Noh

An interdisciplinary research team led by Sunghoon (Ivan) Lee, computer science, and Assistant Professor Yeon-sik Noh, nursing and electrical and computer engineering (ECE), has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the university’s Armstrong Fund for Science to fund their work on battery-less wearable sensors.

Science and Technology Research News; News Office release

Lee and Noh will receive the $40,000 for their two-year project “Enabling Battery-less Wearable Sensors via Intra-Body Power Transfer.” The team was recognized at the Faculty Honors Dinner on April 29.

Noh’s ECE research area is Sensing Systems, and he is the principal investigator in the Nursing Engineering Lab. He studies wearable biometric devices and circuits, personalized healthcare system/strategy, health management program and system development, and health monitoring underwater.

As Noh says, “In the Nursing Engineering Lab, we are focusing on the development of personalized healthcare and health management strategies and systems based on wearable technology in both nursing and engineering perspectives.” He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Yonsei University in South Korea.

According to an article from the UMass News Office, Lee and Noh say their Armstrong project aims to develop a novel concept of wirelessly transferring power through human skin to enable battery-less wearable sensors that can be ultra-miniaturized and ergonomically designed for placement on small body parts. Examples would be sensors designed for on-finger, in-ear, in-tooth, or other places that would not accommodate on-device batteries.

“We believe that the proposed research, if successful, can lay the technological groundwork to transform current architectures and designs for body-area networks, promoting the development of innovative on-body sensors that have not been possible until now,” Lee and Noh say in the New Office release.

In making the award, Michael F. Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement, told the research team, “The selection committee viewed it very positively that you are bringing together an interdisciplinary team with significant expertise in wearable computing research to overcome a significant barrier to developing a new class of battery-less wearable devices.”

Malone says the proposal has the potential to establish UMass Amherst as an innovator in the field and can be expected to attract significant external funding from sponsors such as the National Science Foundation, which are both key criteria for securing funding from the Armstrong fund.

Malone administers Armstrong grants in a competitive proposal process. Benefactors John and Elizabeth Armstrong established their Fund for Science in 2006 to identify and support promising research directions that do not yet have enough data available for the principals to apply to standard funding channels. (June 2019)