Holst Centre and Imec shrink wearable health patch
The patch logs real-time electrocardiogram (ECG), tissue-contact impedance and accelerometer information to accurately monitor physical activity.
Following the trend in wearable activity monitors and fitness electronic devices that compute the calories you burn, the research centers have packed a 1-lead ECG, a tissue-contact impedance sensor and a 3D accelerometer.
All the sensor data is processed and analyzed locally through proprietary calibrated algorithms before relevant information is transmitted via a Bluetooth Smart link to a smartphone or another connected unit. All this is done on a minimal energy budget.
The demonstrator was run on a rechargeable 15mAh battery from Solicore, told us Chris Van Hoof, program director for wearable healthcare at imec.
The algorithms used to process the sensor data locally are able to recognize the type of activity, he explained, which minimizes wireless data transfers and power consumption.
“When we processed the data from all sensors locally only to send relevant activity information, then the patch operated two days in a row without recharge. But if we had all the sensors streaming raw data over Bluetooth, the same battery only lasted two hours” Van Hoof clarified.
“If you only send knowledge to the application running on the smartphone, then you make huge power savings”, he concluded.
The electronic module is integrated into a flexible and stretchable patch designed by Holst Centre, combining system in foil technology with stretchable, integrated electrodes to create a lightweight patch that can be worn comfortably on the chest for extended periods. Ideally, the patch would be integrated into a skin-breathable fabric or into clothing.
The patch was developed in the framework of imec’s and Holst Centre’s joint Human++ program. Both research centers are prospecting for partners interested in industrializing the concept.
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