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Patrick Mercier - UC San Diego. La Jolla, CA, US

Patrick Mercier Patrick Mercier

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering | UC San Diego


Patrick Mercier specializes in low-power electronics for wearable computing.





GlucPhone: a portable glucose sensing system integrated onto a smartphone. Photos by David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering loading image Near-zero-power temperature sensor runs on 113 picowatts of power. Photos by David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering loading image Flexible wearable sensor for detecting alcohol level can be worn on the arm. loading image


A Mouthguard That Monitors Your Health



Mercier received the B.Sc. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, in 2006, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA, in 2008 and 2012, respectively. He is currently an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego), where he is the co-director of the Center for Wearable Sensors and a member of the UC San Diego Center for Wireless Communications. His research interests include the design of energy-efficient microsystems, focusing on the design of RF circuits, power converters, and sensor interfaces for miniaturized systems and biomedical applications.

Mercier received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) Julie Payette fellowship in 2006, the 2009 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) Jack Kilby Award for Outstanding Student Paper at ISSCC 2010, a Graduate Teaching Award in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego in 2013, the Hellman Fellowship Award in 2014, the Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2015, the DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2015, the UC San Diego Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016, and the NSF CAREER Award in 2018.

He has served as an Associate Editor of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VERY LARGE SCALE INTEGRATION from 2015-2017. Since 2013, he has served as an Associated Editor of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL INTEGRATED CIRCUITS, and since 2017 has been a member of the ISSCC International Technical Program Committee (Technology Directions Sub-Committee), the CICC Technical Program Committee, and an Associate Editor of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Letters. Mercier was the co-editor of Ultra-Low-Power Short Range Radios (Springer, 2015) and Power Management Integrated Circuits (CRC Press, 2016).

Areas of Expertise (4)

Wearable Technology

Low Power Electronics for Wearable Computing


Wearable Sensing

Accomplishments (7)



Biocom Catalyst Award


Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) Julie Payette fellowship


DARPA Young faculty Award (professional)



Beckman Young Investigator Award



IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) Jack Kilby Award for Outstanding Student Paper at ISSCC 2010 (professional)


Intel Ph.D. Fellowship


Education (3)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 2012

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): S.M., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 2008

University of Alberta: B.Sc., Electrical and Computer Engineering 2006

Affiliations (2)

  • Center for Wearable Sensors
  • Center for Wireless Communications

Media Appearances (3)

UCSD launching pilot trial of glucose-sensing ‘tattoo’



“Drawing blood is uncomfortable. No one likes doing it. The beauty of the technology we are developing is that it is a truly noninvasive means to measure glucose,” Patrick Mercier, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCSD and codirector of its Center for Wearable Sensors, said in a statement. “The main purpose of our research is to develop new technologies that can monitor glucose without drawing blood and ideally measure it over the course of the day. By giving this real-time information to patients, they can manage their consumption of sugars and injections of insulin much better than with periodic spot measurements.”...

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Clinical Trial Tests Tattoo Sensor as Needleless Glucose Monitor for Diabetes Patients

UC San Diego Health  


"Just like a kid's temporary tattoo, you apply it on the arm, dab with water and remove the back paper," said Mercier, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Our tattoo, however, is printed with material containing two electrodes that apply a small amount of electrical current. This forces glucose molecules that reside below the skin to rise to the surface, allowing us to measure blood sugar. It's safe and you can't really feel it."...

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UCSD engineers develop near-zero-power sensor for ‘unawearables’

Internet of Business  


“Our vision is to make wearable devices that are so unobtrusive, so invisible that users are virtually unaware that they’re wearing their wearables, making them ‘unawearables’”, said senior study author Patrick Mercier...

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Articles (5)

Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System

ACS Sensors

Jayoung Kim, Itthipon Jeerapan, Somayeh Imani, Thomas N. Cho, Amay Bandodkar, Stefano Cinti, Patrick P. Mercier, and Joseph Wang

2016 In this paper we demonstrate a wearable tattoo-based alcohol biosensing system for noninvasive alcohol monitoring in induced sweat. The skin-worn alcohol monitoring platform integrates an iontophoretic-biosensing temporary tattoo system along with flexible wireless electronics. The wearable prototype enables the transdermal delivery of the pilocarpine drug to induce sweat via iontophoresis and amperometric detection of ethanol in the generated sweat using the alcohol-oxidase enzyme and the Prussian Blue electrode transducer.

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A wearable chemical–electrophysiological hybrid biosensing system for real-time health and fitness monitoring

Nature Communications

Somayeh Imani, Amay J. Bandodkar, A. M. Vinu Mohan, Rajan Kumar, Shengfei Yu, Joseph Wang & Patrick P. Mercier

2016 Flexible, wearable sensing devices can yield important information about the underlying physiology of a human subject for applications in real-time health and fitness monitoring. Despite significant progress in the fabrication of flexible biosensors that naturally comply with the epidermis, most designs measure only a small number of physical or electrophysiological parameters, and neglect the rich chemical information available from biomarkers. Here, we introduce a skin-worn wearable hybrid sensing system that offers simultaneous real-time monitoring of a biochemical (lactate) and an electrophysiological signal (electrocardiogram), for more comprehensive fitness monitoring than from physical or electrophysiological sensors alone.

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A 1.1 nW Energy-Harvesting System with 544 pW Quiescent Power for Next-Generation Implants

IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits

Saurav Bandyopadhyay ; Patrick P. Mercier ; Andrew C. Lysaght ; Konstantina M. Stankovic ; Anantha P. Chandrakasan

2014 This paper presents a nW power management unit (PMU) for an autonomous wireless sensor that sustains itself by harvesting energy from the endocochlear potential (EP), the 70-100 mV electrochemical bio-potential inside the mammalian ear. Due to the anatomical constraints inside the inner ear, the total extractable power from the EP is limited close to 1.1-6.25 nW. A nW boost converter is used to increase the input voltage (30-55 mV) to a higher voltage (0.8-1.1 V) usable by CMOS circuits in the sensor...

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Energy extraction from the biologic battery in the inner ear

Nature Biotechnology

Patrick P Mercier, Andrew C Lysaght, Saurav Bandyopadhyay, Anantha P Chandrakasan, Konstantina M Stankovic

2012 Endocochlear potential (EP) is a battery-like electrochemical gradient found in and actively maintained by the inner ear. Here we demonstrate that the mammalian EP can be used as a power source for electronic devices. We achieved this by designing an anatomically sized, ultra-low quiescent-power energy harvester chip integrated with a wireless sensor capable of monitoring the EP itself. Although other forms of in vivo energy harvesting have been described in lower organisms and thermoelectric6, piezoelectric and biofuel devices are promising for mammalian applications, there have been few, if any, in vivo demonstrations in the vicinity of the ear, eye and brain. In this work, the chip extracted a minimum of 1.12 nW from the EP of a guinea pig for up to 5 h, enabling a 2.4 GHz radio to transmit measurement of the EP every 40–360 s. With future optimization of electrode design, we envision using the biologic battery in the inner ear to power chemical and molecular sensors, or drug-delivery actuators for diagnosis and therapy of hearing loss and other disorders.

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A pulsed UWB receiver SoC for insect motion control

IEEE Journal of solid-state circuits

Denis C Daly, Patrick P Mercier, Manish Bhardwaj, Alice L Stone, Zane N Aldworth, Thomas L Daniel, Joel Voldman, John G Hildebrand, Anantha P Chandrakasan

2010 A 2.5 mW wireless flight control system for cyborg moths is presented, consisting of a 3-to-5 GHz non-coherent pulsed ultra-wideband receiver system-on-chip with an integrated 4-channel pulse-width modulation stimulator mounted on a 1.5 cm by 2.6 cm printed circuit board. The highly duty cycled, energy detection receiver requires 0.5-to-1.4 nJ/bit and achieves a sensitivity of -76 dBm at a data rate of 16 Mb/s (10-3 BER). A multi-stage inverter-based RF front end with resonant load and differential signal chain allow for robust, low energy operation. Digital calibration is used in the baseband amplifier, ADC and DLL to cancel voltage and timing offsets. Through the use of a flexible PCB and 3-D die stacking, the total weight of the electronics is kept to 1 g, within the carrying capacity of an adult Manduca sexta moth. Preliminary wireless flight control of a moth in a wind tunnel is demonstrated.

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