Goodbye stethoscope and hello radio waves for measuring vital signs

Daryl Lovell
A radio frequency identification tag.
No visit to the doctor’s office is complete without a blood-pressure cuff squeezing your arm and a cold stethoscope placed on your chest. But what if your vital signs could be gathered, without contact, as you sit in the waiting room or the comfort of your own home?

Cornell engineers have demonstrated a method for gathering blood pressure, heart rate and breath rate using a cheap and covert system of radio-frequency signals and microchip “tags,” similar to the anti-theft tags department stores place on clothing and electronics.

The system is detailed in the paper “Monitoring Vital Signs Over Multiplexed Radio by Near-Field Coherent Sensing,” published online Nov. 27 in the journal Nature Electronics.

The cracker-sized tags measure mechanical motion by emitting radio waves that bounce off the body and internal organs, and are then detected by an electronic reader that gathers the data from a location elsewhere in the room.

The system works like radar, according to Edwin Kan, professor of electrical and computer engineering. But unlike most radar systems that rely solely on radio waves to measure movement, Kan’s system integrates “near-field coherent sensing,” which is better at directing electromagnetic signals into body tissue, allowing the tags to measure internal body movement such as a heart as it beats or blood as it pulses under skin.

The tags are powered by electromagnetic energy supplied by a central reader, and because each tag has a unique identification code it transmits with its signal, Kan said up to 200 people can be monitored simultaneously using just one central reader.

“If this is an emergency room, everybody that comes in can wear these tags or can simply put tags in their front pockets, and everybody’s vital signs can be monitored at the same time. I’ll know exactly which person each of the vital signs belongs to,” said Kan.

Edwin Kan, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell, holds a radio frequency identification tag.

The idea originated after Kan and his graduate student, Xiaonan Hui, visited the Center for Sleep Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, where measuring vital signs can interrupt sleep patterns.

“So we were thinking about the kind of technology we were already using in our lab and thought we could probably get a signal from those vital signs,” said Hui. “But after we figured out the theory and did the experiments, the signal quality was better than our prediction.”

The signal is as accurate as an electrocardiogram or a blood-pressure cuff, according to Kan, who said he believes the technology could also be used to measure bowel movement, eye movement and many other internal mechanical motions produced by the body.

Kan and Hui plan to do more extensive testing with Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine and associate professor of clinical medicine, of medicine in clinical neurology and of clinical genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. They’re also working with professor Jintu Fan and associate professor Huiju Park from Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, who have demonstrated a way to embroider the tags directly onto clothing using fibers coated with nanoparticles.

See Also

Hui envisions a future in which clothing can monitor health in real time, with little or no effort required by the user.

“For every garment in our daily use, there could be a tag on them, and your cellphone will read your vital signs and will tell you some kind of information about your condition that day,” said Hui.

Learn more: Engineers scrap the stethoscope, measure vital signs with radio waves


The Latest on: Radio waves to measure vital signs
[google_news title=”” keyword=”radio waves to measure vital signs” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
  • DRE Trax Vital Signs / ETCO2 Monitor
    on May 20, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    The DRE Trax is a versatile, intuitive patient vital signs monitor that can be configured to measure any combination of non-invasive blood pressure, SpO 2, rapid temperature, and capnography ...

  • What to know about vital signs
    on May 19, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Vital signs measure the body’s most essential functions. They include heart rate, body temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. Healthcare professionals use vital ...

  • Best smart rings in 2024
    on May 10, 2024 at 4:30 am

    Best smart rings, watchOS and vital signs What is watchOS? How do fitness trackers and wearables measure vital signs? What is a smart ring, and how does it work? What is a smart ring, and how does ...

  • Your level of physical activity could be a vital sign
    on May 7, 2024 at 1:04 pm

    Has your doctor quizzed you about your level of physical activity? If so, you can thank Exercise is Medicine, a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine.Created ...

  • MU research team is developing a soft, self-charging material that monitors vital signs
    on May 3, 2024 at 2:50 am

    A soft, self-charging material being developed by a team at the University of Missouri may soon be used in clothing that monitors an individual's vital signs. And it's machine-washable.

  • First Alert Weather In-Depth: Measuring the vital signs of the atmosphere
    on April 11, 2024 at 8:00 am

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — We have a whole set of different weather ingredients to measure the atmosphere. Just like going to the medical doctor to check your vital signs, a meteorologist is checking ...

  • Vital Signs Monitors
    on January 12, 2024 at 11:19 am

    Once submitted, we will try and place you in contact with a suitable Vital Signs Monitors supplier within 48 hours.

  • Vital Signs
    on November 27, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    With keen understatement Vital Signs strings together glimpses at real life conversations between men and women at the outset of their adulthood, grappling with relationships, money, school ...

  • App uses a selfie to measure your vital signs
    on July 8, 2023 at 5:44 am

    The California Council on Economic Education is celebrating 65 years of helping students create a better financial future for themselves. Megan Telles hosts an interview that aired on the KTLA 5 ...

  • How Is Heart Disease Diagnosed?
    on January 17, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Listening to your heartbeat and breathing with a stethoscope Measuring your vital signs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature) A physical exam can sometimes diagnose certain types of ...

via Google News and Bing News

What's Your Reaction?
Don't Like it!
I Like it!
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll To Top