New Medical Sensing Opportunities with Wearable Devices
The current clinical paradigm relies on active measurement taking using a medical device. May it be blood pressure measurement, glucose monitoring, blood testing, oral hygiene, etc, our medical diagnostics rely on physiological metrics that are a single measurement in time. However, with the advent of consumer wearable devices, more and more attention is being put on the possibility of doing more continuous monitoring of physiological metrics. The first of such is continuous heart rate monitoring, overall activity level, and sleep quality through movement analysis. In my research, I have worked on a variety of aspects to push the boundaries of continuous monitoring, ranging from new physiological monitoring techniques to solutions to charge wearable devices in a passive way.
Glabella is a device that integrates multiple optical sensors into a pair of glasses to measure blood pressure continuously using PTT. The PTT is measured using optical sensors placed strategically along the frame of a pair of glasses. When the user wears the glasses, the optical sensor captures the arrival time of the pulse at different parts of the facial arteries. Such a solution can be integrated into any head-mounted wearable device.
CASPER - CASPER stands for Capacitive Serendipitous Power Transfer. It is a capacitive through body charging solution that can charge and power devices worn by the user without being taken off. It works by using the human body as a conduit for 13.56 MHz AC signal, and strategically designing the environment around the user to promote AC coupling of the wearable device and the charging station. This is accomplished by embedding the AC charging station into environments the user often come into contact with, such as furniture and clothing. When the user put on their jacket, drives, sits at a coffee shop, or goes to bed, these charging enabled "stations" deliver AC power through the body and charges the wearable device that are worn on the user. Such a solution can provide a new design space of low power sensors that are distributed on the body, each performing a specific health monitoring task. One such use case is wound monitoring. The current paradigm for wearable health monitors focus on single location, high power devices that tries to infer general health information. However, in cases like wound monitoring, the most effective mechanism is a direct, local measurement. With CASPER, it is possible for a gauze pad with wound monitoring technology to be charged as the person goes to bed, and for the wound monitor to then operate for the rest of the day checking up on the wound's pH and wetness, to track healing progress and healing environment. (This work has recently been accepted for publication at ISWC 2018. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to me directly)