Tiny electronic device can monitor heart, recognize speech

Tiny electronic device can monitor heart, recognize speech
A tiny, wearable acoustic sensor developed by researchers can be used to monitor heart health and recognize spoken words. Credit: Northwestern University, University of Colorado Boulder

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Northwestern University have developed a tiny, soft and wearable acoustic sensor that measures vibrations in the human body, allowing them to monitor human heart health and recognize spoken words.

The stretchable device captures physiological sound signals from the body, has physical properties well-matched with human skin and can be mounted on nearly any surface of the body, said CU Boulder Assistant Professor Jae-Woong Jeong, one of three lead study authors. The sensor, which resembles a small Band-Aid, weighs less than one-hundredth of an ounce and can gather continuous physiological data.

"This device has a very low mass density and can be used for cardiovascular monitoring, and human-machine interfaces in daily life," said Jeong of the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering. "It is very comfortable and convenient - you can think of it as a tiny, wearable stethoscope."

A paper on the subject was published Nov. 16 in Science Advances. The other two co-corresponding authors are Professors Yonggang Huang and John Rogers of Northwestern.

"The thin, soft, skin-like characteristics of these advanced wearable devices provide unique capabilities for 'listening in' to the intrinsic sounds of vital organs of the body, including the lungs and heart, with important consequences in continuous monitoring of physiological health," said Rogers, the Simpson Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery. Rogers also is director of Northwestern's Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics.

Computed X-ray tomography images of the internal structures of the accelerometer chip. Credit: Jeong Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

The researchers say the new device can pick up mechanical waves that propagate through tissues and fluids in the due to natural physiological activity, revealing characteristic acoustical signatures of individual events. They include the opening and closing of heart valves, vibrations of the vocal cords and even movements in gastrointestinal tracts.

The sensor can also integrate electrodes that can record electrocardiogram (ECG) signals that measure the electrical activity of the heart as well electromyogram (EMG) signals that measure the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction.

While the sensor was wired to an external data acquisition system for the tests, it can easily be converted into a wireless device, said Jeong. Such sensors could be of use in remote, noisy places - including battlefields - producing quiet, high-quality cardiology or speech signals that can be read in real time at distant medical facilities.

"Using the data from these sensors, a doctor at a hospital far away from a patient would be able to make a fast, accurate diagnosis," said Jeong.

Computed X-ray tomography images of the internal structures of the accelerometer chip. Credit: Jeong Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

Vocal cord vibration signals also could be used by the military personnel or civilians to control robots, vehicles or drones. The speech recognition capabilities of the sensor also have implications for improving communication for people suffering from speech impairments, he said.

As part of the study, the team used the device to measure cardiac acoustic responses and ECG activity -including the detection of heart murmurs - in a group of elderly volunteers at Camp Lowell Cardiology, a private medical clinic in Tucson, Arizona collaborating with the University of Arizona, a project partner. The researchers also were able to detect the acoustical signals of blood clots in a related lab experiment, said Jeong.

Other CU Boulder study co-authors on the Science Advances paper include Assistant Professor Jianliang Xiao and doctoral student Zhanan Zou of mechanical engineering and doctoral student Raza Qazi of electrical engineering.

The sticky, flexible polymer encapsulating the tiny device is stretchable enough to follow skin deformation, said study first author Yuhao Liu, who earned his doctorate and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and now works at Lam Research, headquartered in Fremont, California. The device contains a tiny commercial accelerometer to measure the vibration of the body acoustics and allows for the evaporation of human sweat.

Demonstration of speech recognition and voice control of a Pac-man game using an epidermal mechano-acoustic device in both quiet and noisy environments. Credit: Jeong Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

The researchers also showed vocal cord vibrations gathered when the device is on one's throat can be used to control video games and other machines. As part of the study a test subject was able to control a Pac-Man game using vocal cord vibrations for the words "up," "down," "left" and "right."

"While other skin electronics devices have been developed by researchers, what has not been demonstrated before is the mechanical-acoustic coupling of our device to the body through the skin," Jeong said. "Our goal is to make this practical enough to use in our daily lives."

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More information: "Epidermal mechano-acoustic sensing electronics for cardiovascular diagnostics and human-machine interfaces," Science Advances, advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/11/e1601185
Journal information: Science Advances

Citation: Tiny electronic device can monitor heart, recognize speech (2016, November 16) retrieved 20 September 2019 from https://techxplore.com/news/2016-11-tiny-electronic-device-heart-speech.html
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Nov 16, 2016

I'm dead and I can't get up!"

Nov 16, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 16, 2016
The plural of forum is fora.

But I do not read StormFront, or GooSStep,, or the other White Trash fora.

Nov 16, 2016
plural noun: forums

a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.
"it will be a forum for consumers to exchange their views on medical research"
synonyms: meeting, assembly, gathering, rally, conference, seminar, convention, symposium, colloquium, caucus; More
"forums were held for staff to air grievances"
setting, place, scene, context, stage, framework, backdrop;
medium, means, apparatus, auspices
"a forum for discussion"
an Internet site where users can post comments about a particular issue or topic and reply to other users' postings; a message board.
North American
a court or tribunal.

Nov 16, 2016
plural noun: forums
basic research to validate a claim isn't her strong suit...

The forums of the world rejoice in unison.
not sure we could ever get so lucky...however, there is a solution:
Let's get rid of the sniping emotional troll comments that are blatantly false claims, and we can have a forum of professionals

even "STOLEN VALOR" advocated for this... so simply just report all of her posts that contain easily refuted rubbish like the above posts, or the emotional outbursts of baiting refuse, like her first post

she wants to get rid of the trolls who lie and post OT content, so start by getting rid of her

Nov 16, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 17, 2016
I understand that this device is more versatile than the common HRM sensors in the market, but basically it acomplishes the same function.

Maybe it's ability to capture sound and ECG could be put to good use to get rid of the infamous "spikes" that annoy many of us sporters.

It would be killer if it could measure lactate rate too (there are sensors for that already), I know that's accomplished chemically but if there is a ECG module it might be possible to add one of such. This would be extremely marketable to the sporting community (I would love one!)

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