'Life and activity monitor' provides portable, constant recording of vital signs

February 1, 2012
'Life and activity monitor' provides portable, constant recording of vital signs
This small device, only about two inches wide, can monitor vital signs while being worn outside the body. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

Researchers have developed a type of wearable, non-invasive electronic device that can monitor vital signs such as heart rate and respiration at the same time it records a person's activity level, opening new opportunities for biomedical research, diagnostics and patient care.

The device is just two inches wide, comfortable, does not have to be in direct contact with the skin and can operate for a week without needing to be recharged. Data can then be downloaded and assessed for whatever medical or research need is being addressed.

The technology has been reported at a professional conference, and research is continuing to make it even smaller and less costly.

"When this technology becomes more miniaturized and so low-cost that it could almost be disposable, it will see more widespread adoption," said Patrick Chiang, an assistant professor of computer engineering at Oregon State University. "It's already been used in one clinical research study on the effects of on aging, and monitoring of this type should have an important future role in medicine."

Vital sign data can be relayed by the small electronic device worn on the body. (Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

Called a "life and activity monitor," the system uses different sensors to detect , , movement and similar vital signs. It will provide doctors, researchers and clinicians a continuous flow of data over time, reduce the need for more frequent office visits, and ultimately provide better care at lower cost.

The system was developed by scientists and engineers at Oregon State University and the University of California at San Diego.

Final designs of the technology may be as small as a disposable bandage, researchers say.

Explore further: Hi-tech shirt to monitor vital signs

Related Stories

Hi-tech shirt to monitor vital signs

May 4, 2006

Integrated smart textile company Sensatex launched this week a patented SmartShirt System that could remotely monitor human vital signs.

Wireless patients

May 26, 2010

A wireless monitoring system for people with debilitating conditions such as Parkinson's disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) could allow healthcare workers to assess a patient's health and the development ...

Portable microwave sensors for measuring vital signs

November 9, 2010

Current medical techniques for monitoring the heart rate and other vital signs use electrodes attached to the body, which are impractical for patients who want to move around. Plasma physicist Atsushi Mase, a scientist at ...

'Ultrawideband' could be future of medical monitoring

June 16, 2011

New research by electrical engineers at Oregon State University has confirmed that an electronic technology called "ultrawideband" could hold part of the solution to an ambitious goal in the future of medicine – health ...

Hold the phone for vital signs

October 6, 2011

An iPhone app that measures the user's heart rate is not only a popular feature with consumers, but it sparked an idea for a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researcher who is now turning smart phones, and eventually ...

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.