Researchers at Michigan State University and University of Maryland have developed a device for blood pressure monitoring. It could potentially offer a more accessible method of risk assessment for heart attack and strokes.
Researchers invented a special phone case, using high-tech 3-D printing that contains an embedded optical sensor on top of a “force” sensor.
When the user presses a finger onto the sensor embedded in the case, it provides measurable pressure on an artery in the finger in the same way that a blood pressure cuff squeezes an artery in the arm.
That information is then fed to a smartphone app that converts the data to a real-time blood pressure reading, displayed on the phone, Ramakrishna Mukkamala of Michigan State University, said.
The researchers tested the usability of the device on 30 people and found that about 90 percent could position their finger correctly and get consistent readings after only one or two attempts.
The authors showed that blood pressure readings were similar using their smartphone device, a standard arm cuff device and a finger-cuff device in a group of participants.
The device works through a three-dimensional printed phone case that contains an optical sensor over a force sensor.
When a user presses down on the sensor with a finger, using the oscillometric method that the cuff usually provides, the device measures the pressure in an artery.
The phone gives visual feedback to direct the amount of finger pressure to apply and calculates instant diastolic and systolic readings through the app.
It’s still too early to tell if the tech works accurately, but if it does, it could enable more people, especially in developing countries, to check if they’re at risk for heart disease.
This smartphone-based device could help make measuring blood pressure more accessible. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.