Wearable sensor monitors antibiotic levels in real time

Imperial College’s Timothy Rawson has developed a non-invasive microneedle bionsor patch capable of detecting antibiotic levels in the body. The goal is to reduce the need for blood sampling and analysis, optimize dosage, reduce drug-resistant infections and offer personalized drug delivery, both inside and outside of the hospital. A recent study showed that the accuracy of the real-time monitoring technology was similar to slower, periodic blood tests.

The technology has been used for continuous monitoring of blood sugar, but this is the first time it’s been used to monitor changes to drug concentrations. The researchers believe that  the sensors could form the basis of a ‘closed loop system’, like an insulin pump – where antibiotics are administered to patients, and levels are continuously monitored to optimize dosage.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

Biodegradable optical sensor monitors physiological function, can provide electrical stimulation, in brain and heart surgery

Northwestern’s John Rogers has developed a biodegradable optical sensor that can be implanted after brain injury and not require a second surgery for removal.  According to Rogers: “Optical characterization of tissue can yield quantitative information on blood oxygenation levels. Fluorescence signals can reveal the presence of bacteria as a diagnostic for the formation of an infection at an internal wound site. Fluorescence-based calcium imaging can reveal metrics of brain activity. There are also ways that light can be used to activate certain biological processes and that’s a next step for us.”

In addition to monitoring physiological function, the sensors  can be used as electrical stimulators for accelerating neural regeneration in damaged peripheral nerves, or as drug delivery agents programmed to release drugs at specific times.

The dissolvable sensors are also being used to monitor the oxygen level around the heart during surgery, and as a temporary pacemaker to deliver electrical stimulation following heart surgery.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

Sensor tracks cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics

Georgia Tech’s Woon-Hong Yeo has developed a 3D-printed, stretchable, battery-free, wireless sensor, implanted in brain blood vessels to measure incoming blood flow, to evaluate aneurysm healing.  The tiny device wraps around stents or diverters implanted to control blood flow in affected vessels. It is believed to be the first demonstration of aerosol jet 3D printing to produce an implantable, stretchable sensing system for wireless monitoring.

Inserted using a catheter, the sensor uses inductive coupling of signals to allow wireless detection of biomimetic cerebral aneurysm hemodynamics.

Current cerebral aneurysms monitoring requires repeated angiogram imaging with potentially harmful contrast materials. Cost and potential negative effects limit the use of these techniques.  A sensor placed in a blood vessel could allow more frequent evaluations without the use of imaging dyes.


REGISTRATION RATES INCREASE SEPTEMBER 20 | Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche

Printed stickers, stretchable antennas, fluctuation-resistant RFID for continuous whole-body monitoring

Zhenan Bao‘s adhesive, unobtrusive wearables continue to change the way health is monitored.  Her new BodyNet system tracks pulse, respiration, and other physiological signs using small, screen printed stickers around the body, and a wireless receiver clipped to clothing. The research was published in Nature Electronics last week.

Her  goal is to “create an array of wireless sensors that stick to the skin and work in conjunction with smart clothing to more accurately track a wider variety of health indicators than the smart phones or watches consumers use today.”

The technology is almost un-noticeable to the wearer, as it does not include batteries or rigid circuits. To achieve this, the Bao Lab created a new antenna that could stretch and bend like skin, and an RFID system capable of sending strong and accurate signals to the receiver, despite constant fluctuations.

The initial version of the stickers relied on tiny motion sensors. The team will next integrate sweat, temperature and other sensors.

Bao believes that “one day it will be possible to create a full-body skin-sensor array to collect physiological data without interfering with a person’s normal behavior.”


Tiny fiber optic sensor monitors blood flow in real-time

John Arkwright and Flinders University colleagues have developed a tiny, low cost, fiber-optic sensor to monitor blood flow through the aorta in real-time.  The goal is continuous monitoring during prolonged intensive care and surgical procedures.  Current blood flow measurement, using ultrasound or thermo-dilution,  is intermittent, averaging every 30 minutes.

The device is inserted through a small  aperture in the skin, into the femoral artery, when heart function is compromised.  Its size allows it to be  used in the tiny blood vessels of infants. Very young babies  are particularly susceptible to sudden drops in blood pressure and oxygen delivery to vital organs.


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Sensor glove identifies objects

In a Nature paper, the system accurately detected  objects, including a soda can, scissors, tennis ball, spoon, pen, and mug 76 percent of the time.

The tactile sensing sensors could be used in combination with traditional computer vision and image-based datasets to give robots a more human-like understanding of interacting with objects. The dataset also measured cooperation between regions of the hand during  interactions, which could be used to customize prosthetics.

Similar sensor-based gloves used cost thousands of dollars and typically 50 sensors. The  STAG  glove costs approximately $10 to produce.

Click to view MIT video


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Photonics for at-home disease detection

Hatice Altug and EPFL BIOS Laboratory colleagues are developing photonic chips that count individual biomolecules and determine their location.  This could identify trace amounts of undesirable biomarkers in blood or saliva and serve as an early-warning system for disease.

The technology consists of an ultra-thin and miniaturized optical chip that,  coupled with a standard CMOS camera and powered by image analysis. It is based on metasurfaces. At a certain frequency, these elements are able to squeeze light into extremely small volumes, creating ultrasensitive optical ‘hotspots’.

When light shines on the metasurface and hits a molecule at one of these hotspots, the molecule is detected immediately, changing the wavelength of the light that hits it. By using different colored lights on the metasurface and taking a photo with a CMOS camera, the researchers cn count the number of molecules in a sample, and learn exactly what is happening on the sensor chip. First author Filiz Yesilkoy said: “We then use smart data science tools to analyze the millions of CMOS pixels obtained through this process and identify trends. We’ve demonstrated that we can detect and image not just individual biomolecules at the hotspots, but even a single graphene sheet that’s only one atom thick.”

The team also developed a second, simpler, but less precise, version of the system, where the metasurfaces are programmed to resonate at different wavelengths in different regions.

According to Altug: “Light possesses many attributes – such as intensity, phase and polarization – and is capable of traversing space. This means that optical sensors could play a major role in addressing future challenges – particularly in personalized medicine.”


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Glutamate sensor could predict migraines, monitor CNS drug effectiveness

Riyi Shi and Purdue colleagues have developed a tiny, spinal cord-implanted, 3D printed sensor that quickly and accurately tracks glutamate in spinal trauma and brain disease. The goal  is to monitor drug effectiveness, and predict migraine headaches in humans, although it has only been tested on animals.

Glutamate spikes are often missed.  Damaged nerve structures allow glutamate to leak into spaces outside of cells, over-exciting and damaging them. Brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, also show elevated levels of glutamate.

Devices to date have not been sensitive, fast, or affordable enough. Measuring levels in vivo would help researchers to study how spinal cord injuries happen, and  how brain diseases develop.

In a recent animal study, the device captured spikes immediately, vs current devices, where researchers must  to wait 30 minutes for data after damaging the spinal cord.

Quick to view Purdue video


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Wireless, skin-like sensors monitor baby heart rate, respiration, temperature, blood pressure

John Rogers and Northwestern colleagues have developed soft, flexible, battery-free, wireless, skin-like sensors to replace multi wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units.  The goal is to enable more accurate monitoring, and unobstructed physical bonding.

The dual wireless sensors monitor heart rate, respiration rate and body temperature — from opposite ends of the body. One sensor lies across the chest or back, and the other wraps around a foot. This allows physicians to gather an infant’s core temperature as well as body temperature from a peripheral region.

Physicians also can measure blood pressure by continuously tracking when the pulse leaves the heart and arrives at the foot. Currently, there is not a good way to collect a reliable blood pressure measurement. A blood pressure cuff can bruise or damage an infant’s fragile skin. The other option is to insert a catheter into an artery, which is tricky because of the slight diameter of a premature newborn’s blood vessels. It also introduces a risk of infection, clotting and death.

The device also could help fill in information gaps that exist during skin-to-skin contact. The sensors also can be worn during X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.

Click to view Northwestern video

Artificial skin sensor could help burn victims “feel”

UConn chemists Islam Mosa and Professor James Rusling have developed a sensor that could detect pressure, temperature, and vibration when placed on skin.  

The sensor and silicone tube are wrapped in copper wire and filled with an  iron oxide nanoparticle fluid, which creates an electric current. The copper wire detects the current. When the tube experiences pressure, the nanoparticles move and electric signal changes.

Sound waves also create waves in the fluid, and the signal changes differently than when the tube is bumped.

Magnetic fields were found to alter the signal differently than from pressure or sound waves.  The team could distinguish between the signals caused by walking, running, jumping, and swimming.

The researcher’s goals are to  help burn victims “feel” again, and to provide  early warning for workers exposed to high magnetic fields. The waterproof sensor could also serve as a pool-depth monitoring wearable for children.


Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod KhoslaWalter Greenleaf – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi Emmanuel Mignot Michael Snyder Joe Wang – Josh Duyan – Aviad Hai Anne Andrews Tan Le – Anima Anandkumar – Pierrick Arnal – Shea Balish – Kareem Ayyad – Mehran Talebinejad – Liam Kaufman – Scott Barclay – Tracy Laabs – George Kouvas