Radar on a chip helps prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
25 May 2011
Researchers at the Tyndall National Institute, University
College Cork, have developed a microchip sensor incorporating a radar
that can detect a person’s respiratory rate remotely.
The chip allows the constant monitoring of babies in cot beds,
hospital patients and other people at risk of obstructive apneas,
including, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It can be used also
for the early detection of sudden sleep of vehicle drivers.
The sensor technology also enables several other important
applications such as facilitating patients in being monitored in
their home, with data sent in real-time to GPs and first-aid medical
staff in hospitals. It can also be used for fitness (fatigue)
monitoring and personalised healthcare for independent and healthy
The microchip sensor can be applied to other civil applications
requiring contactless detection of moving objects.
The sensor microchip consists of ultra-wide-band pulse radar,
capable of detecting sub-centimeter movements. The radar sends very
short pulses towards the chest and detects the echo reflected in
proximity of the skin. The output signal provided by the sensor is
therefore sensitive to the chest movement. This is the first time
that such an ultra-wide-band pulse radar has been integrated into a
single silicon chip.
Dr Domenico Zito, Leader of the research team focused on the
design of single-chip transceivers for emerging wireless
technologies at Tyndall National Institute and Lecturer in
Microelectronic Engineering at University College Cork, said: “This
microchip is the result of a dedicated and highly-skilled research
team at Tyndall National Institute which has been developing this
microchip for a considerable time within a fruitful cooperation with
the research group in Bioengineering led by Prof. Danilo De Rossi at
the University of Pisa, Italy.
"We recently presented our work to the prestigious IEEE
International Solid-State Circuits Conference 2011 in San Francisco,
the world-wide top conference in microelectronic design both for
industry and academia. We believe that this microchip has the
potential to make a profound impact on monitoring the respiratory
diseases, as well as the number of deaths resulting from Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome or accidents arising from driver fatigue.
"The microchip gives doctors access to extensive data recorded
over long observation intervals, which will allow them to understand
more about pathologies and their manifestations.”
The research carried out by Tyndall National Institute in
developing this microchip was funded by Science Foundation Ireland
(SFI), the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and
Technologies and the European Commission.
1. Zito, Domenico; Pepe, Domenico; Mincica, Martina; Zito,
Fabio; Solid-State Circuits Conference Digest of Technical
Papers (ISSCC), 2011 IEEE International ; On page(s): 40 - 41 ;
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA ; DOI: