A new stretchable bandage-like electronic sensor has been developed to monitor stroke patients recovery progress.
New wearable designed to be worn on the throat could be a game changer in the field of stroke rehabilitation.
The sensors stick directly to the skin, moving with the body and providing detailed health metrics including heart function, muscle activity and quality of sleep.
The sensor, developed by engineering professor John Rogers at the Northwestern University in the midwestern U.S. state of Illinois used novel materials for this sensor that bend and stretch with the body, minimizing discomfort to patients.
The stretchable electronics are precise enough to be used in the advanced medical care and portable enough to be worn outside the hospital, even during extreme exercise.
“Stretchable electronics allow us to see what is going on inside patients bodies at a level traditional wearables simply cannot achieve,” said Rogers.
He explained that the top priority is to make them as integrated as possible with the human body.
The throat sensor measures patients swallowing ability and patterns of speech, which makes it possible to diagnose aphasia, a communication disorder associated with stroke.
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a research hospital in Chicago, who collaborated with Rodgers for the research, used the throat sensor in conjunction with electronic biosensors, also developed in Rogers’ lab, on the legs, arms and chest to monitor stroke patients recovery progress.
The intermodal system of sensors streamed data wirelessly to clinicians phones and computers, providing a quantitative, full-body picture of patients advanced physical and physiological responses in real time.
The sensor can distinguish between patients voices and ambient noise by measuring vibrations of the vocal chords in a way totally different from traditional methods adopted to monitor patients speech function.
Data from the sensors would be presented in a dashboard that is easy for both clinicians and patients to understand. It would send alerts when patients are underperforming on a certain metric and would allow them to set and track progress toward their goals.
The findings from the study were reported in a symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, USA.