Biosensors comfortable enough to wear 24-7

July 6, 2010 | Source: Technology Review

Replacing sticky EEG (brain wave) electrodes, UCSD researchers have built a capacitive EEG sensor, which conducts much weaker signals but can do so across small distances.

(Mike Chi, University of California, San Diego)

The sensor can detect faint changes in capacitance, and amplify them, while canceling out the ambient electrical noise that exists all around us. When multiple sensors are embedded in material and wired together, they create a portable monitor that patients can wear over clothing as they go about their daily routine. This could mean increased monitoring time and better compliance from patients.

Currently, when cardiologists want to know what a patient’s heart activity looks like for an extended period of time, they have to send them home with a Holter monitor, a portable ECG device that employs the same wired, sticky electrodes used in the hospital. But this monitor can only be used for up to 48 hours, and abnormal cardiac rhythms don’t always occur during such a short window of time.