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Vital functions monitored with wearable and implantable devices
Date:5/10/2010

Physiological signals can nowadays be easily monitored with measurement devices implanted inside a living body. The object animal or human is barely aware of the presence of the implant. An example of a device implantable in humans is the pacemaker that has long since become standard treatment for heart patients. Researcher Jarno Riistama from Tampere University of Technology (TUT) believes that the next tech-savvy generation represents a potential customer base for new applications in the field.

They might be interested in monitoring their personal health with implantable electrocardiogram (EKG) devices. The device could also be used as a diagnostic tool in emergencies, because it gives medical personnel instant access to the patient's EKG data.

Implants for humans and cattle

TUT has developed implantable EKG devices since 2003. The devices have been employed, among others, to monitor the mental and physical well-being of cattle. Once implanted, the device transmits signals that are used to infer the cow's stress levels and to analyze how the animal reacts to different living conditions.

Departments from the University of Helsinki and the MTT Agrifood Research Finland have also participated in the research.

The use of implantable EKG devices has yielded promising results, but further research and development is still necessary, says Riistama.

Riistama believes that implantable measurement devices intended for human use may become commercially available in a decade's time. The approval process and tests required to conduct measurements on humans take time and there is no room for failure.

The technology holds definite commercial potential. Increased industrialization will begin to take its toll and people are likely to suffer more health problems and be more health conscious in the future.

Disposable measuring device for hospitals

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Contact: Jarno Riistama
jarno.riistama@tut.fi
358-408-490-946
Tampere University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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