INTERESTING ENGINEERING – Monitoring sounds in the human body is important in a doctor’s preliminary examinations.
These include heartbeats, the passage of digested food down the lengthy gastrointestinal tract, and air entering and exiting the lungs, signaling information about an individual’s health.
Furthermore, these sounds may abruptly stop or change, indicating a significant issue that needs immediate attention.
Furthering the scope of such examinations, a team of researchers at Northwestern University (NU) is now presenting novel wearable technology much more advanced than the intermittent measures made during periodic medical examinations.
The gadgets softly attached to the skin continuously monitor these minute sounds at various points throughout almost any part of the body, wirelessly and simultaneously.
“An algorithm can distinguish between internal body noises and exterior sounds (ambient or nearby organ sounds) by recording sounds in both directions.”
“Currently, there are no existing methods for continuously monitoring and spatially mapping body sounds at home or in hospital settings,” said John A. Rogers, a bioelectronics pioneer at NU who led the device development, in a statement.
The details of the research were published in the journal Nature Medicine.
These tiny, light gadgets, embedded with high-performance digital microphones and accelerometers, gently stick to the skin to build an extensive, non-invasive sensing network.
The devices physically map how air moves into, through, and out of the lungs, as well as how heart rhythm changes in various resting and active states and how food, gas, and fluids travel through the intestines by simultaneously recording noises and connecting those sounds to bodily processes, according to the team.
Each 40-millimeter long, 20-millimeter wide, and 8-millimeter thick device is encased in soft silicone.
The device has two tiny microphones, one pointing inside towards the body and the other outward towards the exterior, a flash memory drive, a small battery, electronic components, and Bluetooth capabilities …