Soft electrodes for simultaneous bio-potential and bio-impedance study of the face

Bara Levit, Paul F. Funk, Yael Hanein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human body’s vascular system is a finely regulated network: blood vessels can change in shape (i.e. constrict, or dilate), their elastic response may shift and they may undergo temporary and partial blockages due to pressure applied by skeletal muscles in their immediate vicinity. Simultaneous measurement of muscle activation and the corresponding changes in vessel diameter, in particular at anatomical regions such as the face, is challenging, and how muscle activation constricts blood vessels has been experimentally largely overlooked. Here we report on a new electronic skin technology for facial investigations to address this challenge. The technology consists of screen-printed dry carbon electrodes on soft polyurethane substrate. Two dry electrode arrays were placed on the face: One array for bio-potential measurements to capture muscle activity and a second array for bio-impedance. For the bio-potential signals, independent component analysis (ICA) was used to differentiate different muscle activations. Four-contact bio-impedance measurements were used to extract changes (related to artery volume change), as well as beats per minute (BPM). We performed concurrent bio-potential and bio-impedance measurements in the face. From the simultaneous measurements we successfully captured fluctuations in the superficial temporal artery diameter in response to facial muscle activity, which ultimately changes blood flow. The observed changes in the face, following muscle activation, were consistent with measurements in the forearm and were found to be notably more intricate. Both at the arm and the face, a clear increase in the baseline impedance was recorded during muscle activation (artery narrowing), while the impedance changes signifying the pulse had a clear repetitive trend only at the forearm. These results reveal the direct connection between muscle activation and the blood vessels in their vicinity and start to unveil the complex mechanisms through which facial muscles might modulate blood flow and possibly affect human physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025036
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • bio-impedance
  • bio-potential
  • blood flow
  • dry electrodes
  • facial EMG
  • soft electrodes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing


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