Intelligent wearable sensors to monitor disease and diagnose problems

23 June 2010

Researchers at the University of Southampton are developing intelligent medical sensors that can be worn by patients to monitor their symptoms and alert a healthcare professional if medical intervention is needed.

Dr Koushik Maharatna at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and Professor John Morgan (University of Southampton School of Medicine) and Dr Nick Curzen at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust are part of a team working on the £18 million European-funded CHIRON project (Cyclic and Person-Centric Health Management: Integrated Approach for Home Mobile and Clinical Environment), which aims to combine state-of-the-art technologies and innovative solutions into an integrated framework, designed to enable more effective health management.

Over the first two years of the three-year project, Dr Maharatna and his colleagues will develop advanced ultra low-power signal processing algorithms and circuits embedded within the sensors to create intelligent medical sensors with decision-making capability. During the final year of the project, the team will then use the technology to test approximately 400 people (200 in Southampton and 200 in Rome) from a high-risk heart disease group.

“One of the major technical issues when we deploy these sensors is that they need to be wearable, low-power and work in noisy environments 24 hours a day,” said Dr Maharatna. “Our task is to develop new ultra low-power algorithms and corresponding circuits, so that the technology will make it possible for a patient’s GP to be alerted at any point of time through the patient’s device if medical assistance is needed.”

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