5 April 2007 Sensor-actuator coupled device for active tracheal tube using solid polymer electrolyte membrane
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A sensor-actuator coupled device was developed using solid polymer electrolyte membrane (SPM) as an active tracheal tube for ventilator. Active tracheal tube is a novel type of tube for ventilator that removes patient's phlegm automatically upon sensing the narrowing of trachea by phlegm. This type of active tube is extremely useful in clinical settings as currently the sole measure to remove phlegm from patient's tube is to do it manually by a nurse every few hours. As SPM works both as a sensor and an actuator, an effective compact device was developed. SPM based sensor-actuator coupled device was fabricated with modified gold plating method. Prepared SPM was fixed as an array on a plastic pipe of diameter 22 mm and was connected to a ventilator circuit and driven by a ventilator with a volume control ventilation (VCV) mode. SPM was connected both to a sensing unit and an actuation unit. Generated voltage developed by the membrane with the setting of the maximum pressure from 5 cmH2O to 20 cmH2O was in order of several hundred &mgr;V. SPM sensor demonstrated a biphasic response to the ventilator flow. The sensor data showed nearly linearly proportional voltage development to the intra-tracheal pressure. The sensed signal was filtered and digitized with an A/D converting unit on a PC board. A real time operating program was used to detect the sensed signal that indicates the narrowing of trachea. The program then activated a driving signal to control the actuation of the membrane. The signal was sent to a D/A converting unit. The output of the D/A unit was sent to an amplifier and the galvanostat unit which drives the membrane with constant current regardless of the change in the load. It was demonstrated that the sensor-actuator unit detects the narrowing of trachea within several hundreds milli-seconds and responds by actuating the same membrane with the driving voltage of 3-4 V and driving current of several hundred milli-ampere for each membrane. SPM array actuated the obstructing material of 2 g to expel from the trachea tube. Also, a theoretical model of the propagating wave generated by SPM was examined.
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Tadashi Ihara, Taro Nakamura, Toshiharu Mukai, and Kinji Asaka "Sensor-actuator coupled device for active tracheal tube using solid polymer electrolyte membrane", Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 65241D (5 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.716802; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.716802

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