It is a stretchable device that gathers physiological sound signals from the body, has physical properties well-linked with human skin and can be laid closely on any surface of the body, says CU Boulder Assistant Professor Jae-WoongJeong, one of three head authors. The sensors resembled a tiny Band-Aid weighs less than single-hundredth of an ounce and can capture regular physiological data.
“This equipment has an extremely low mass density and can be utilized for cardiovascular monitoring, human machine interfaces and speech recognition in regular life,” says Jeong from the Department of Computer, Energy and Electrical Engineering. “It is very convenient and comfortable as it is a similar to a small, wearable stethoscope.”
“The slim, skin-like and soft features of these advanced wearable gadget offer unique capabilities for ‘listening in’ to the internal sounds of essential organs of the body, comprising the heart and lungs with important consequences in regular monitoring of physiological health,” says Rogers, the Simpson Querrey Lecturer of Materials Science and Engineering, Neurological Surgery and Biomedical. Rogers also is the director of Northwestern’s Institute for Bio-Integrated Electronics.
The scientists say the novel equipment can pick up mechanical waves that propagate through fluids and tissues in the human body because of natural physiological activity, disclosing characteristic acoustical signatures of singular events. They comprise the closing and opening of heart valves, vibrations of the vocal cords and also movements in gastrointestinal tracts.
The sensor can also incorporate electrodes that can capture electrocardiogram or ECG signals that estimate the electronic activity of the heart as well as EMG or electromyogram signals that estimate the electronic activity of muscles at rest and during the contraction process.
However the sensor was linked to an external data acquisition system for the tests, it can conveniently be transformed into wireless equipment, says Jeong. Such sensors could be of benefit in remote, noisy areas, comprising battlefields – generating high-quality and quiet cardiology or speech signals that can be analysed in real-time at detached medical facilities. “Utilizing the information from such sensors, a doctor at a hospital far away from a patient would be able to create an accurate and fast diagnosis,” says Jeong.
The scientists also revealed vocal cord vibrations captured when the equipment is on one’s throat and can be utilized to regulate video games and other machines. As a component of the study, it was able to regulate a Pac-Man game utilizing vocal cord vibrations for common words, like up, right, left and down.
“While the other sorts of skin electronic equipment have been introduced by scientists, what has not been illustrated before is the mechanical – acoustic linkage of our device to the body through the skin,” says Jeong. “Our aim is to create this device practical enough to utilize in our daily lives.”
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