Pacifier sensor detects glucose levels in babies

UCSD’s Joe Wang has developed a soft, flexible, pacifier-based biosensor that continuously monitors glucose levels in saliva to detect diabetes in babies. Until now,  continuous glucose monitoring in newborns,  available only in major hospitals, requires piercing the infant’s skin to reach interstitial fluid.

The team created a proof of concept pacifier where small amounts of saliva were transferred through a narrow channel to a detection chamber.  An enzyme attached to an electrode strip converted glucose in the fluid to a weak electrical signal, which could be detected wirelessly by an app. The strength of the current correlated with the amount of glucose in saliva samples.

The preliminary analysis was conducted on adults with type 1 diabetes.  The pacifier detected changes in glucose concentrations in  saliva before and after a meal.

The device could also be configured to monitor other disease biomarkers.

Joe Wang will be a keynote speaker at ApplySci’s 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School.  

Other speakers include:  Brad Ringeisen, DARPA  – 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 – R. Jacob  Vogelstein, Camden Partners – Yael Mandelblat-Cerf, Biogen


Wearable system detects postpartum depression via baby/mother interaction

Texas professor Kaya de Barbaro is creating a mother-child wearable system to detect and attempt to prevent postpartum depression. Mother stress levels are measured via heart rythm, and encouraging messages are sent.  Mom wears the sensor on her wrist, and baby wears it on her/his ankle. The child’s sensor collects heart rate and movement data, which is correlated with the mother’s reaction.  Audio is recorded to track crying. Mothers receive messages, including “great job” and “take a breather” when stress is sensed via a faster heart beat, in an attempt to limit feelings of isolation.

Join ApplySci at the 10th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference on February 21-22 at Stanford University — Featuring:  Zhenan BaoChristof KochVinod Khosla – Nathan IntratorJohn MattisonDavid EaglemanUnity Stoakes Shahin Farshchi

Wearable acoustic sensors track fetal cardiac activity, skeletal development

Acoustic sensors are increasingly used in monitoring fetal health.

Imperial College’s Niamh Nowlan is using low cost, non-transmitting accelerometers and acoustic sensors to continuously track fetal movement to understand skeletal development. Acoustic sensors enable discrimination between the movement of the fetus and mother.

Israel’s Nuvo Group is continuously monitoring fetal cardiac activity using acoustic sensors and ECG (to track both sound and electrical activity) in a wearable baby belt.

Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab.  Speakers include:  Rudy Tanzi – Mary Lou Jepsen – George ChurchRoz PicardNathan IntratorKeith JohnsonJuan EnriquezJohn MattisonRoozbeh GhaffariPoppy Crum – Phillip Alvelda Marom Bikson

Just announced:  Ed Simcox, CTO of the US Department of Health and Human Services, will be the closing speaker at ApplySci’s Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018


EEG detects infant pain

Caroline Hartley and Oxford colleagues studied 72 infants during painful medical procedures.  Using EEG, they found a signature change in brain activity about a half-second after a painful stimulus. They seek to understand its use in monitoring and managing infant pain, as well as  the use of EEG in adult pain treatment.

EEG is more precise than current heart rate, oxygen saturation level, and facial expression pain assessment, which are affected by other stressful, non-painful events.

In one experiment, 11 out of 12 infants had a decreased pain-related EEG signal after doctors applied a topical anesthetic to their feet.  A new study uses EEG to test the efficacy of morphine in infants, whose skin and intestines absorb drugs differently than adults.

EEG is being miniaturized by companies such as Neurosteer, making it an increasingly viable option for continuous pain, attention, and consciousness monitoring and treatment optimization.

Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Boston on September 19, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab – featuring  Joi Ito – Ed Boyden – Roz Picard – George Church – Nathan Intrator –  Tom Insel – John Rogers – Jamshid Ghajar – Phillip Alvelda – Michael Weintraub – Nancy Brown – Steve Kraus – Bill Geary


Baby wearable gauges development, suggests interactions

ApplySci predicts significant growth in the use of wearables for babies, toddlers, and  pregnant moms.  The Smilables system combines a baby-worn ankle bracelet with an app for parents that suggests structured interactions.

The baby is monitored in real-time to identify the times that he/she would be most receptive to interventions.  Caregivers are alerted throughout the day.    The lesson modules are customized by age. The baby’s progress against childhood development standards are monitored and benchmarked.

The company, founded by former NeuroFocus (Nielsen Neuroscience) head A.K. Pradeep, has not yet unveiled details of its technology or child development benchmarks.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health San Francisco – April 5, 2016 @ the Mission Bay Conference Center

NeuroTech San Francisco – April 6, 2016 @ the Mission Bay Conference Center

The 2nd Annual Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC – June 7, 2016 @ the New York Academy of Sciences

NeuroTech NYC – June 8, 2016 @the New York Academy of Sciences


Toward embryo brain activity tracking

Hari Shroff and NBIB colleagues have developed open-source 3D software that might lead to the ability to track a human embryo’s brain activity and development.

To date, the technology has only been tested on worms and will be part of a 4D neurodevelopmental “worm atlas” that attempts to catalogue the formation of a worm’s nervous system.

Shroff believes that  it will enable the understanding of fundamental mechanisms by which human  nervous systems assemble. He expects that the concepts, such combining neuronal data from multiple embryos, can be applied to additional model organisms.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health San Francisco – April 5, 2016 @ the Mission Bay Conference Center

NeuroTech San Francisco – April 6, 2016 @ the Mission Bay Conference Center

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC – June 7, 2016 @ the New York Academy of Sciences

NeuroTech NYC – June 8, 2016 @ the New York Academy of Sciences


Smart bottle monitors infant swallowing

A smart baby bottle by nfant uses sensors to measure a baby’s tongue strength while feeding.  Data is sent to a caregiver’s phone and stored in the cloud.  Tongue movements determine whether a baby in the NICU has the strength to switch from tube to bottle or breastfeeding.

ApplySci sees the  opportunity for the next generation of smart bottles to incorporate multiple infant-health parameters, such as those derived from saliva.



Wearable monitors newborns within 40 mile radius

WAAA!  is a text-based neonatal surveillance system developed by David Swann of the University of Huddersfield.  It is a finalist project of UNICEF’s Wearables for Good Challenge.

Appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiratory data is captured, via a patch, during the first day of life.  Any deterioration triggers an immediate text alert to a carer.

Globally, more than 1 million babies die on the first day of life – mostly due to preventable or treatable causes.  The developers of WAAA! believe that helping babies survive the first day of life is the best way to reduce child mortality.

The technology is capable of monitoring multiple newborns at distances up to 40 miles.  This can provide some level of care in the world’s  poorest and least served regions.

Simple sensor to prevent car-heat related deaths

All too often we hear about a baby, or person who is unable to speak for him/herself, being left in a hot car, and dying.  ApplySci applauds Evenflo for creating a car seat with a very simple notification sensor that could prevent this.

The Embrace DLX seat, with SensorSafe technology, generates a series of tones when a car is turned off, to remind us that a baby is still in the car.  The company has not described technology for disabled adults, but this is the obvious next step.

The tones are activated through a chest clip and wireless receiver. The receiver also sends alerts if the chest clip becomes unbuckled during transit.

Smart pacifier monitors baby’s health and location

BlueMaestro’s Pacifi monitors a baby’s temperature and transmits the data to a parent’s phone or tablet.  Its app plots the data in a graph.  Parents can record when medication was administered, set-up alerts, and share the information with nannies and doctors.

Pacifi features a built in proximity sensor that allows parents to monitor the pacifier’s location and be alerted if their toddler wanders off.  Parents can set the distance, to a range of 150 feet, for the alarm to be triggered.