Sensor patch monitors blood oxygen levels anywhere in the body

Ana Claudia Arias and Berkeley colleagues have developed a flexible, adhesive sensor that maps blood-oxygen levels over large areas of skin, tissue and organs, making it possible to monitor wound healing in real time, or oxygen levels in transplanted organs. It can also be used to continuously monitor blood oxygen levels in diabetes, respiration diseases and  sleep apnea.

The device is made of an array of alternating red and near-infrared organic LEDs and organic photodiodes, printed on bendable plastic that molds to the the body. Unlike fingertip oximeters, which measure oxygen levels at a single point, it can detect blood-oxygen levels at nine points in a grid and can be placed anywhere on the skin.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le

Focused ultrasound thalamotomy in Parkinson’s Disease

UVA’s Scott Sperling and Jeff Elias, who already used focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor, have just published the results of  a small study showing the efficacy of the technology in Parkinson’s Disease.

The sound waves were shown to interrupt brain circuits responsible for the uncontrollable shaking associated with the disease. The researchers claim that their study also offers “comprehensive evidence of safety” in its effect on mood, behavior and cognitive ability, which has not previously been studied.

According to Sperling, “In this study, we extended these initial results and showed that focused ultrasound thalamotomy is not only safe from a cognitive and mood perspective, but that patients who underwent surgery realized significant and sustained benefits in terms of functional disability and overall quality of life.”

27 adults with severe Parkinson’s tremor that had not responded to previous treatment were divided  into two groups. Twenty received the procedure, and a control group of seven (who were later offered the procedure) did not. Participants reported improved quality of life, including their ability to perform simple daily tasks, emotional wellbeing, and a lessened sense of stigma due to their tremor, at both three and twelve months.

The team found that mood and cognition, and the ability to go about daily life, ultimately had more effect on participants’ assessment of their overall quality of life than did remor severity or the amount of tremor improvement.

Cognitive decline was seen in some participants after the study, in that they were less able to name colors and think of and speak words. The cause of this was unclear, and must be investigated. The researchers suggested this could be a result of the natural progression of Parkinson’s.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le

Wearable sensor monitors shunt function in hydrocephalus

Northwestern’s John Rogers has created another minimal, flexible, wireless, adhesive wearable — this time to help hydrocephalus patients manage their condition.

The band-aid like sensor determines whether a shunt is working properly.

Shunts often fail.  When this happens, a patient can experience headaches, nausea and low energy, and must go to a hospital immediately.  However, a patient can have similar symptoms with a properly working shunt. The wearable determines, in five minutes, if the shunt is functioning, and if it is, a patient could avoid a hospital visit, CT, MRI, and potential surgery to determine the shunt’s functionality.

Click to view Northwestern University video


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le

Minimally invasive sensor detects electrical activity, optical signals in brain for MRI

MIT’s Aviad Hai has developed a minimally invasive sensor to detect electrical activity or optical signals in the brain for MRI. No power source is needed, as radio signals that an external MRI scanner emits power the sensor.  It is implanted but does not require a wired connection to the brain. The researchers believe that it could also be adapted to measure glucose or other chemicals.

The team previously developed MRI sensors to detect calcium, serotonin and dopamine. The new sensor is meant to replace current electrical activity monitoring, which is extremely invasive, and can cause tissue damage.

Hai and colleagues shrank a radio antenna down to a few millimeters, so that it could be implanted directly into the brain to receive radio waves generated by water in the tissue.

The sensor is first tuned to the same frequency as the radio waves emitted by the hydrogen atoms. When an electromagnetic signal is detected, its tuning changes and  it no longer matches the hydrogen atom frequency. A weaker image then arises when the sensor is scanned by an external MRI machine.

In a study, the sensors were able to pick up electrical signals similar to those produced by action potentials or local field potentials.

Hai plans to further miniaturize the sensor, to enable multiple injections, to image light or electrical fields over a larger brain area.

Dr. Hai will discuss this work at ApplySci’s Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod Khosla – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi – Emmanuel Mignot – Michael Snyder – Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai

Brain-to-brain communication interface

Rajesh Rao and University of Washington colleagues have developed BrainNet, a non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for multiple people.  The goal is a social network of human brains for problem solving. The interface combines EEG to record brain signals and TMS to deliver information to the brain, enabling 3 people to collaborate via direct brain-to-brain communication.

In a recent study, two of the three subjects were “Senders.” Their brain signals were decoded with real-time EEG analysis to extract decisions about whether to rotate a block in a Tetris-like game before it is dropped to fill a line. The Senders’ decisions were sent via the Internet to the brain of a third subject, the “Receiver.”  Decisions were delivered to the Receiver’s brain via magnetic stimulation of the occipital cortex. The Receiver integrated the information and made a decision, using an EEG interface, to either turn a block or keep it in the same position.  A second round of the game gave Senders another chance to validate and provide feedback to the Receiver’s action.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod Khosla – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi

Wearable system detects postpartum depression via baby/mother interaction

Texas professor Kaya de Barbaro is creating a mother-child wearable system to detect and attempt to prevent postpartum depression. Mother stress levels are measured via heart rythm, and encouraging messages are sent.  Mom wears the sensor on her wrist, and baby wears it on her/his ankle. The child’s sensor collects heart rate and movement data, which is correlated with the mother’s reaction.  Audio is recorded to track crying. Mothers receive messages, including “great job” and “take a breather” when stress is sensed via a faster heart beat, in an attempt to limit feelings of isolation.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod Khosla – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi

Blood glucose-powered sensor for long term monitoring

Subhanshu Gupta and Washington State colleagues have developed an implantable sensor, powered by  harvested blood glucose, for long term monitoring.

The electronics consume only a few microwatts of power, while being highly sensitive. Combined with the biofuel cells,  the sensor is more efficient than (and non-toxic as compared to) traditional battery-powered devices.  Fueled by body glucose, the electronics can be powered indefinitely.

According to Gupta; “The human body carries a lot of fuel in its bodily fluids through blood glucose or lactate around the skin and mouth. Using a biofuel cell opens the door to using the body as potential fuel.”


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochNathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi

Adhesive emergency response sensors

VitalTag by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a chest-worn sticker that detects, monitors and transmits blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and other vital signs, eliminating the need for multiple medical devices.

It is meant for emergency responders to quickly assess a person’s state.

Additional sensors are worn on the finger, and in the ear.

Data is displayed in an app, allowing responders to see patients’ location and receive alerts when status changes or they are moved.  Multiple patients can be monitored simultaneously.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

Small ultrasound patch detects heart disease early

Sheng Xu, Brady Huang, and UCSD colleagues have developed a small, wearable ultrasound patch that  monitors blood pressure in arteries up to 4 centimeters under the skin.  It is meant to detect cardiovascular problems earlier, with greater accuracy

Applications include continuous blood pressure monitoring in heart and lung disease, the critically ill, and those undergoing surgery.  It could be used to measure other vital signs, but this was not studied.

The wearable measures central blood pressure, considered more accurate and better at predicting disease than peripheral blood pressure. Central blood pressure is not routinely measured, and involves a catheter inserted into a blood vessel in the arm, groin or neck, and guiding to the heart. A non-invasive method exists, but it does not produce consistently accurate readings.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane

Apple watch detects falls, diagnoses heart rhythm, bp irregularities

The Apple Watch has become a serious medical monitor.  It will now be able to detect falls, contact emergency responders, and diagnose  irregularities in heart rhythm and blood pressure.  Its ECG app has been granted a De Novo classification by the FDA.

ECG readings are taken from the wrist, using electrodes built into the Digital Crown and an electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal. Users touch the Digital Crown and receive a heart rhythm classification in 30 seconds. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation . All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored and can be shared with physicians.

The watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is detected.  It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

Fall detection is via a built in accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures forces, and an algorithm to identify hard falls. Wrist trajectory and impact acceleration are analyzed to detect falls.  Users are then sent an alert, which can be dismissed or used to call emergency services.  If  immobility  is sensed for 60 seconds,  emergency services will automatically be called, and emergency contacts will be notified.


Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson – Ed Simcox – Sean Lane