Before coming to UC in October 2005, Son worked at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he developed astronaut monitoring sensor technology.
"With NASA, we are looking at a confined environment in a space shuttle," Son says. "Now we expand the application to earth." The major difference between earth and space, as far as the sensor technology goes, is the gravitational force of earth.
"Our sensor uses liquid, which reacts to the gravitational force" says Son. Therefore, we need to add the capability to control the liquid."
Particles in the air on the order of one micron or less have the potential to initiate inflammatory and immune responses in human lungs. Because studies indicate that the effect might be cumulative, it's important to understand more about the exposure of humans, especially children, to particulate matter in their everyday lives. Currently, understanding the potential impact of particulate matter on human health is limited by the lack of knowledge of individuals' exposures to particle size and accumulation. Current sensors with the capability of detecting particles lack portability.
Until now, that is -- the sensors that the team is developing will be approximately the size of a deck of playing cards and fully wearable by the smallest earthling. With this portability comes the capability of monitoring individuals in remote locations, like playgrounds.
Lockey says, "The availability of this miniature sensor will greatly improve the capacity to identify the type and amount of environmental exposure that can result in a disease state."
"This will help correct the frequent misclassification to various environmental exposures that can occur in human studies," LeMasters adds.
The difference between the older technology and this new development is similar to the difference between a cell phone and a landline: one goes with the person; the other ties the person to a cer
|Contact: Wendy Hart Beckman|
University of Cincinnati