Maxim teams for wearable medical monitor tech

Maxim teams for wearable medical monitor tech
Business news |
A ten year deal with Northwestern University will see new technology developments for wearable medical devices at Maxim Integrated
By Nick Flaherty


Maxim Integrated Products has signed a ten year deal with a US university for medical wearable technology.

The $750,000 deal with the  Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics (QSIB) at Northwestern University will help develop wireless, bio-integrated medical sensors. Northwestern spin out Sibel Systems has also received a $4.2m grant from the US Department fo Defense to roll out its Covid-19 wearable systems.

“Medical innovation doesn’t happen within a year or two,” said Prof John Rogers, executive director of QSIB and co-founder of Sibel. “Given this, we wanted to set a decade-long timeline focused on improving healthcare and patient outcomes with advanced, next-generation medical sensors.”

While the pledge is not tied to a specific project, the COVID-19 pandemic has jump-started the partnership says Rogers. His lab developed a clinical-grade medical device for detecting and monitoring COVID-19, which recently entered clinical trials.

“During this unprecedented health crisis, the work that we do in advanced and ubiquitous medical sensing has never been more important,” said Dr. Shuai “Steve” Xu, medical director of QSIB and lead architect of the partnership. “When we first learned about how Maxim Integrated was directing its resources to rapidly accelerate new integrated circuits to power next-generation sensors specifically for COVID-19, we knew we had to make this partnership happen.” 

“When I first spoke to Professor Rogers and Dr. Xu to discuss this partnership, I was impressed to see how they are enabling their vision of remote patient monitoring,” said Shailendra Mahajan, managing director at Maxim Integrated and Maxim Ventures. “The lab has significant grants, strong healthcare ecosystem support and a capable team. This partnership will help Maxim Integrated’s business units look around the corner and help define compelling products. At Maxim Ventures, the corporate arm of Maxim Integrated, we enable innovation by investing in startups that continuously transform technology solutions in healthcare.” 

The grant through the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium will support the technology’s continued development and deployment. 

Sitting at the base of the throat, the Northwestern device uses an electrocardiogram and a motion sensor to measure subtle vibrations from the body to continuously capture heart rate, breathing, coughing and temperature. A second paired device wraps around the finger to measure blood oxygenation levels and non-invasive continuous blood pressure. The ICU-grade data outputs can be stored on the sensor or displayed on any standard smartphone.

“While popular wearables have been used for COVID-19 surveillance, they do not measure any of the three most common symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath,” said Rogers. “If we want to catch COVID-19 at the earliest stages, then it is critical for a diagnostic system to detect these common symptoms.”

“Of course we’re all excited about the upcoming vaccines; they can’t come soon enough, and we need to vaccinate everyone as soon as we can,” said Xu. “But, it will still take time to distribute those. Furthermore, in the time of COVID-19, we forget other killers. These sensors and the algorithms that we will develop could be applied to other serious viruses, such as the influenza and RSV, that kill tens of thousands of people every year.”

After launching the monitoring device, researchers tested it on frontline health care workers and high-risk select patients in Chicago-area hospitals.;

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