Hospital patients may no longer need to be hooked up to a tangle of wires, thanks to new technology developed by Fujitsu Ltd. The device enables cord-free monitoring through radio-wave transmission of electrocardiograms, blood pressure and other data from sensors attached to patients’ bodies.
A transmitter mounted on each sensor sends readings to a receiver adjacent to the bed, which will be connected to a dedicated monitor or personal computer. The data transmission utilizes the “medical body area network” (mBAN), a telecommunications standard for medical equipment. The radio waves only have a transmission range of 5 meters and do not interfere with pacemakers or other medical equipment, Fujitsu officials said.
A Fujitsu research lab has developed software that can accurately measure a subject’s pulse using the small digital cameras attached to smartphones and tablets.
The technology is based on the fact that the brightness of an individual’s face changes slightly as their heart beats, due to their blood flow. Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body, absorbs green light, so analyzing the change in color of parts of the face reveals their heart rate.
As most image sensors capture pixel information in red, blue and green, they have the ability to detect hemoglobin built in. Fujitsu’s technology keeps track of specific regions of the face over time to take pulse measurements.