The new sensors that Cognionics is developing are "wireless" in two different respects. First, the sensors record biopotential through clothing fabrics, and therefore do not touch the skin directly. "Today you have to put sticky patches on your chest to record this information. It's uncomfortable and messy," said Chi.
Second, the information the sensors collect is sent to computers over wireless channels, rather than over wires.
"One of the goals of this wireless sensor project is to take the sensing technology out of the typical hospital setting and into the home environment, without constraining the mobility of the patient," said Cauwenberghs. "Also, our approach could allow you to monitor cardiac or brain activity during exercise, or to monitor the health of soldiers in the battlefield, so it can be transformative in that sense."
Various wireless sensor prototypes for recording biopotential have been around since at least the 1960s, but according to Chi, "no one has gotten it past a lab prototypeyou don't see them out in the marketplace."
Chi cited problems with cost, reliability, and difficulty recording clinically relevant electrical signals as causes of the roadblocks, particularly because wireless sensors are more complex than the wired versions.
"We managed to reduce the circuitry for the sensor into a single integrated circuit that makes it more reliable and cheaper than other methods. We have two lab prototypes that are working," said Chi.
"There are other companies that are doing wireless sensors, but Mike's solution offers one that eliminates not only the wires for transmitting the data, but also the wires between electrodes that are conventionally needed to establish a voltage signal with a reference and ground," explained Cauwenberghs.
Chi says he is dedicated to launching this company in San Diego after he finishes his PhD.
"I want to stay
|Contact: Daniel Kane|
University of California - San Diego