Chicago-area researchers are developing a wearable device about the size of a stamp that aims to detect early signs of COVID-19 and monitor infected patients.
Created by teams at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the wireless device, which adheres to the base of the neck, continuously measures body temperature, heart rate and respiratory activity, including irregular breathing, Northwestern said in a statement Monday.
For two weeks, a total of 25 patients and workers have been monitored using the devices both in the hospital and at home.
"The real-time data streaming from patients gives insights into their health and outcomes that is currently not being captured or analyzed by traditional monitoring systems," the statement says.
The technology leverages research from Northwestern inventor John Rogers, whose team previously debuted a flexible patch worn on the skin that monitors stroke patients. Meanwhile, algorithms created by AbilityLab scientists are designed to recognize different types of coughs and patterns of respiration.
"These sensors have the potential to unlock information that will protect frontline medical workers and patients alike, informing interventions in a timely manner to reduce the risk of transmission and increase the likelihood of better outcomes," Arun Jayaraman, a research scientist at AbilityLab, said in the statement.
In addition to potentially detecting COVID-19 before symptoms arise, the device could provide information about which treatments are working for patients, the statement says.
"At the simplest level, our systems allow assessments based on data, in a quantitative way, without relying on human judgment of whether a patient is coughing more or less," Rogers said in the statement.
Future versions are expected to also measure blood oxygenation levels—an important component of lung health, according to the statement.
"Northwestern, AbilityLab at work on COVID detection device" originally appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.