Wireless network used to monitor breathing without need of tubes or wires

first_imgWe welcome any sort of technological development that makes it possible to easily monitor patients in their homes instead of in a laboratory or hospital setting. For some people who need to be monitored for medical conditions like epilepsy or sleep apnea, a trip to the lab can be time consuming and uncomfortable. Who likes hanging out at the doctor’s office anyway? As we recently saw with the Nokia N900 app that allows for EEG scans to be performed in the comfort of your home, it seems the latest trend is to make devices that can monitor patients at home at a relatively low cost.University of Utah engineers are working on a way to noninvasively measure breathing of surgery patients, adults with sleep apnea, and babies that are at risk of infant death syndrome (SIDS). To do this, they’re using something they developed back in 2009. As we reported previously, University of Utah’s Neal Patwari and Joey Wilson are working with radio systems and wireless networks that can be used to see through walls. Patwari and Wilson found that by using off-the-shelf wireless transceivers, they could actually detect movement in another room as a person walked through the space. This could be used to detect the location of a burglar, people trapped inside a house by a fire, or hostages held captive inside a building.Patwari, assistant professor of electrical engineering at University of Utah, is using the same off-the-shelf wireless transceivers for his system to monitor breathing. As the picture above of Patwari shows, networks of 20 wireless transmitters operating at a frequency of 2.4GHz surround Patwari and measure his breathing rates. Using a metronome to time his breath, Patwari measured his breathing with 15 inhales and exhales a minute, which is the average breathing rate for an average resting adult. Patwari found that the system’s algorithm could measure respiration within 0.4 to 0.2 breathes per minute, which is a low error rate since most monitors round off to the nearest full breath.The transceivers can alert someone if breathing stops without the need for any tubes or wires connected to the patient. Patwari said it could be used to monitor patients who are under sedation after surgery to know if they stop breathing. Another application could be applied around a baby’s crib to alert the parent if their baby stops breathing (SIDS).There are currently SIDS monitors available on the market, but they all require the baby to be connected with wires, electrodes or belts. There are also regular baby monitors that only alert you with sound, as well as mattress sensors that alert the parent when there’s movement in the crib.Patwari’s system needs some more work, but he thinks the product could be on the market in the next five years.via Engadgetlast_img

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