Antennae and sensor impregnated mat to monitor biological variables and indicators of health
A functional fabric mat with the capability to monitor and track anthropometric and biofeedback data accompanied by an application to integrate information and securely share with healthcare providers.
Currently, anthropometric and biological measurements in the healthcare setting are made with individual devices that require both specialized equipment and time on the part of the patient and healthcare provider. Additionally, patient data is often static in nature as the opportunity for measurements throughout the calendar year is not always possible. A comprehensive, application-based system designed to limit the impact on daily life with the potential to provide instant feedback on anthropometric and biofeedback data would be extremely valuable, especially in pediatric settings.
Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Lisa Militello, have developed a novel category of wireless antenna-impregnated fabrics with the potential for unencumbered, far-reaching biological monitoring uses. The fabrics consist of dipole antennas responsive to the mechanical forces of a subject laying on the fabrics that results in the loss of the associated wireless transmission path; this system currently allows for constant monitoring of anatomical measurements. The researchers have provided proof-of-concept measurements for recumbent height and propose to add weight-sensing capabilities, as well as, functional biofeedback measurements of heart and respiratory rate, sleep quality, and mood assessment.
Once the researchers are able to establish reliable biofeedback measurements they will develop an application with the capacity to integrate and securely share information with parents, as well as, healthcare providers. The novel fabrics and the creation of a seamless application will be initially targeted to young children. The overarching goal of this work is to provide an effective system integrated seamlessly into everyday life to monitor biological variables in a variety of settings with instant and constant feedback.
The Ohio State University laboratory that developed this technology has expertise in the design of antennas and sensors for body area applications, including both wearables and implants. The lab is focused on functionalizing fabrics with wireless functionalities for communications and sensing, as well as engineering novel classes of wearable/implantable antennas that exceed the state-of-the-art boundaries of radio-frequency performance. The lab is open for collaboration for further products and investigational routes.