Scientists at Tyndall National Institute
in Cork, Ireland have created a microchip sensor that can monitor the breathing rate without contacting the patient. The technology could be used for an array of potential applications, including several that are potentially life saving. Future uses of the technology include monitoring infants for SIDS and patients at risk for sleep apnea. In addition, it could be used for patient monitoring in hospitals and home-health situations as well as for the rapid detection of fatigued drivers falling asleep while behind the wheel.
The device relies on an ultra-wide-band pulse radar that can detect sub-centimeter movement. The technology works by sending short pulses towards the patient’s chest. By detecting the echo reflected from the moving skin, the device determines the breathing rate. Led by Tyndall National Institute professor Domenico Zito (pictured), the researchers report that the device will comply with medical device standards and that the technology is the first instance that such an ultra-wide-band pulse radar was integrated onto a single silicon chip.