"Wearable, Skin-Mounted Stethoscope" Monitors Heartbeat, Other Health Measures
(HealthDay News) — A new type of acoustic sensor that resembles a small Band-Aid on the skin can monitor heartbeat and other health measures, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in Science Advances.
The research team behind this latest example of "epidermal electronics" said the silicone core construction is intended to comfortably match the pliable feel of skin tissue. The patch, designed to receive mechano-acoustic signals, can be used to remotely track very specific functions, such as how well a heart valve closes, a muscle contracts, a lung expands, or a vocal cord vibrates, the study authors explained.
The sensor may one day offer a way to painlessly and wirelessly track an individual's health. The patch, which weighs less than one-hundredth of an ounce, can help doctors monitor heart health, vocal cord activity, lung performance, and potentially many other bodily functions, researchers say.
"We've developed a soft, skin-like device that can listen to internal sounds created by function of internal organs," study coauthor John Rogers, Ph.D., who was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during the study and is currently at Northwestern University in Chicago, told HealthDay. "Think of the device as a wearable, skin-mounted stethoscope. But with capabilities for continuous listening and recording of not only sounds, but also low-frequency vibrations."