In this paper, a flexible microfluidic-based sensor is investigated for monitoring the bending and tilting of a metal bar for miniature access pectus excavatum repair (MAPER). Built on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate, the sensor contains a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microstructure embedded with an electrolyte-enabled 5×1 resistive transducer array. One end of the metal bar is fixed and the sensor is attached to different locations of the bar. The other end of the metal bar is connected to a 5-lb weight for controlling the bending of the bar. Manually holding and releasing the weight bends the metal bar, which translates to strain in the PET substrate and consequently causes resistance changes in the transducer array. Upon the same amount of bending, resistance change of the sensor varies with the location of the sensor on the metal bar, due to the bending (or strain) variation along its length. Tilting of the metal bar relative to a rigid object (i.e., sternum) introduces force acting on the microstructure of the sensor, and thus gives rise to resistance changes in the transducer array. As a result, this sensor shows the potential of being used in MAPER to minimize tissue injury in vivo application.

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