Home » Fiber Optic Developments in Health Technologies

Fiber Optic Developments in Health Technologies

Bilkent University National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM), which proudly possesses the sole optical fiber preform production infrastructure and fiber drawing tower in Turkey, is making revolutionary advancements in the healthcare sector following its contributions to the national defense industry.

The research conducted at UNAM demonstrates that the fibers are of critical importance and will enable next-generation applications in health technologies.

Following the development of fiber sensor equipped shoes, UNAM project coordinator Dr. Mustafa Ordu has now developed a technology that can simultaneously measure health parameters such as heart rate, systolic-diastolic values in the blood, cardiovascular aging, vascular elasticity and breathing with a single fiber. This new technology, particularly advantageous for continuous measurements without the need for intravascular access, may open the door for significant breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, especially in intensive care units and advanced surgical operations.

The fiber-based piezoelectric and triboelectric nanogenerators used in the research at UNAM can be produced by the kilometers, catering to the needs of various industries that range from the defense sector to the healthcare industry.

Dr. Ordu explains that “(t)he capability to simultaneously measure vital indicators like heart rate, systolic-diastolic blood pressure, cardiovascular aging and vascular elasticity broadens the spectrum of applications for this technology in the healthcare sector. Weighing less than one gram, the fiber technology is self-powered and requires no additional energy, ensuring practical usability. The fiber sensor system, with the ability to transmit data wirelessly, excels in real-time non-invasive patient monitoring. Additionally, these fiber sensors find applications in diverse fields such as renewable energy, the defense industry, aviation and more.”

In addition to these studies, Dr. Ordu aims to develop systems analyzing walking patterns using fiber sensors with the project “Wearable Fiber Sensor Tracking Human Mobility,” which has been granted support through the TÜBİTAK BİGG startup program. The goal of the project is to establish a company and develop a commercial product based on this innovative technology.

UNAM, the only facility in Turkey with the infrastructure necessary for fiber optic preform production and an optical fiber drawing tower, continues to contribute to Turkey’s technological potential by standing out in the healthcare sector through domestic and national production.

Furthermore, UNAM continues its work in line with TÜBİTAK’s 1004 Excellence Centers Support Program’s national goals, which foster collaboration among the public sector, industries and universities in Turkey under the principle of “developing and achieving together.” As the leader of the A1 platform, UNAM collaborates with TUSAŞ, Vestel and Şişecam as well as Bilkent, Eskişehir Technical, Abdullah Gül (AGÜ) and TOBB ETÜ universities to conduct advanced R&D activities aimed at acquiring value-added technologies for local and national production in Turkey. One primary objectives of the platform, and especially of UNAM, is to cater to industries’ needs, including producing PM fiber preforms.