Ultracompliant Carbon Nanotube Direct Bladder Device

Adv Healthc Mater. 2019 Oct;8(20):e1900477. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201900477. Epub 2019 Sep 25.


The bladder, stomach, intestines, heart, and lungs all move dynamically to achieve their purpose. A long-term implantable device that can attach onto an organ, sense its movement, and deliver current to modify the organ function would be useful in many therapeutic applications. The bladder, for example, can suffer from incomplete contractions that result in urinary retention with patients requiring catheterization. Those affected may benefit from a combination of a strain sensor and electrical stimulator to better control bladder emptying. The materials and design of such a device made from thin layer carbon nanotube (CNT) and Ecoflex 00-50 are described and demonstrate its function with in vivo feline bladders. During bench-top characterization, the resistive and capacitive sensors exhibit stability throughout 5000 stretching cycles under physiology conditions. In vivo measurements with piezoresistive devices show a high correlation between sensor resistance and volume. Stimulation driven from platinum-silicone composite electrodes successfully induce bladder contraction. A method for reliable connection and packaging of medical grade wire to the CNT device is also presented. This work is an important step toward the translation of low-durometer elastomers, stretchable CNT percolation, and platinum-silicone composite, which are ideal for large-strain bioelectric applications to sense or modulate dynamic organ states.

Keywords: biomedical implantable device; bladder control; carbon nanotube; spinal cord injury; stretchable electronics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / chemistry
  • Elastomers
  • Electrodes
  • Electronics / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Materials Testing
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Polyesters
  • Silicones / chemistry
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Swine
  • Tensile Strength
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Catheterization


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Elastomers
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Polyesters
  • Silicones
  • ecoflex
  • baysilon