New Wi-Fi sticking plaster could monitor our health

Nowadays if you’re in hospital being monitored by technology then you could find yourself wired up to all sorts of machines to do the job. Not only are you restricted in movement as a result of the wires, you have to listen to constant bleeping and ticking too, which can be a bit unnerving for anyone. Imagine then if you could say goodbye to the wires and just wear a sticking plaster all day that looked just like an ordinary plaster but which actually had sensors embedded into it? These sensors could monitor your vital signs and wirelessly send that info back to a central point for immediate analysis? Sounds a much better option doesn’t it and you don’t have to be bedridden. This is exactly the technology that Professor Chris Toumazou has developed at Imperial College, London and clinical trials are now underway to test it out.The trials, which will be led by clinical research fellow at Imperial College’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Dr Nick Oliver, will look at how the gadget performs in different scenarios and will also test the accuracy of the readings given by the plaster. “We’ll look at the data in far more challenging circumstances,” said Dr Oliver. “We need to challenge the device a little bit and make sure it is reliable.”

Professor Toumazou, the creator of the Wi-Fi enabled plaster, who incidentally recently received the World Technology Award for Health and Medicine 2009, has a vision of the “Smart” plaster eventually replacing the wired monitors we currently have. He wanted to increase the amount of data that could be obtained from a patient without having to wire them up to yet more machines. Professor Toumazou’s creation could continuously monitor blood pressure and heart rate and could be used to identify other much more subtle indications of a person’s condition. According to Keith Errey, co founder of Toumaz Technology, the company that is developing the product, the wireless plaster is a “platform” that can be loaded with sensors.For example it could also monitor blood pressure in various parts of the body, glucose levels, and tiny indicators in the body that could show if an individual was improving or getting worse or it could even be used to monitor the location of a patient. According to Mr Errey, professional sports stars have also shown an interest in using such a device so that they can monitor their body’s responses during training regimes. news from

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