Scientists at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on an ingestible electronic sensor that can measure a patient's heart rate and breathing rate.
Current technology to monitor vital signs require physical contact between the device and the skin. However, this can result in skin irritation and pain, while with contact-free devices the patient has to remain in bed if readings are to be gathered. Notably, measurements may not be correct under high physical activity conditions.
‘MIT Scientists are working on an ingestible electronic sensor that can accurately measure heart rate and respiratory rate under different conditions. It was successfully tested in pigs.’
The ingestible sensor developed at the technology center would enable monitoring of these vital signs from the inside, sans direct contact with the skin.
According to researchers, the sensor acquires sound waves using a small microphone once it is activates. The acoustic waves are then transformed into heart rate and respiratory rate, thus acquiring vital signs from within the gastrointestinal tract.
The current sensor can accurately measure heart rate and respiratory rate under different conditions and it was successfully tested in pigs. In the nest level, researchers need the make the multivitamin-sized sensor entirely wireless. The device could also be used in non-clinical settings to monitor fatigue in military personnel or athletic performance.