Portable breathing sensors made from retractable tubes



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Although some portable monitors measure a person's breathing rate, they can not track the volume of air inspired by a patient. For people with asthma and other lung conditions, this is an important indicator that can be used to assess the patient's condition.

Engineers at the University of California at Irvine have now developed an inexpensive and easy-to-use breathing monitor based on Shrinky Dinks, a popular children's craft toy. It consists of two piezoresistive sensors which are glued around the ribs and abdomen and measure the tension exerted on the tissues on which they are pressed.

Shrinky Dinks are plastic films that shrink when heated. The team then applied a conductive metal film and applied heat. The resulting component can be glued to a dressing to give a final product. The measurement of the slight electric current produced by the sensors provides an indicator of the stress imposed on them.

The researchers compared their device to a medical spirometer, which showed that at rest there was a close correlation. The team also showed that their device was working well while the people wearing it were walking around.

Some of the next steps will integrate existing components with wireless Bluetooth connectivity to facilitate seamless tracking using their smartphone or other mobile device and prepare technology for manufacturing.

Journal study npj digital medicine: Measurements of volume and breathing using portable strain sensors …

Via: University of California, Irvine …

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