While the ongoing pandemic is causing a lot of change in all industries, developing longer-term solutions to mitigate the effects of new coronavirus infections could be particularly worth the investment of time and effort. The project is a prime example of a project that researchers at Northwestern University NWU have collaborated with Shirley AbilityLab in Chicago to develop a wearable device that provides early warning to people infected with the new coronavirus,
Designed to be worn on the throat, this wearable device has already been used by about 25 individuals and has provided initial data on its effectiveness through monitoring at home and in the clinic. Associated hardware monitors a patient's cough and respiratory activity and works with a set of algorithm developed by the research team to identify early symptoms and potential signs that may occur when the infection progresses and requires more advanced care.
The device is designed for 24/7 use and provides a continuous stream of data. After the symptom has obviously deteriorated, the stage of early treatment has passed, and it is not possible to rely on regular medical examinations, but using this device is a great advantage because information is immediately presented. The wearable device is stamp-sized and looks like a thin Band-Aid. You can monitor chest movements, heart rate, body temperature, and respiratory rate, as well as the sound and frequency of coughing.
The device is specifically calibrated on the basis of symptoms recognized by medical professionals as the most common early symptoms of the new coronavirus, such as fever, cough, and respiratory. According to John A Rogers, a researcher at Northwestern University NWU who led the device's development team said, "The suprasternal notch, which is the technical name for the site on the throat where the wearable rests, is where airflow occurs near the surface of the skin."
There will be various uses for this hardware. First, it will be a valuable tool for healthcare professionals working on the front lines. Knowing what is an early sign of a possible illness can prevent co-workers from being infected and receive the necessary treatment as efficiently as possible. Second, people already diagnosed with the novel coronavirus can provide valuable information about the course of the infection and when it getting worse. Third, use live information from subjects both in the clinic and at home to inform scientists working on the development of what, how, and how well it is performing.
The device is relatively easy to produce. The NWU team says they can produce hundreds of units each week and don't have to rely heavily on external suppliers. This is a tremendous advantage for the hardware that may be needed in large numbers to handle this crisis. In addition, the device can be worn almost unnoticed and is extremely easy to use for both clinicians and patients.
Other projects are underway to see how devices that monitor in-vivo readings, such as Oura rings and Kinsa thermometers, can help control viral epidemics. The wearable device researchers have worked with an engineering company called Sonica to manage device development. From now on, we plan to cooperate with various organizations (including funding from BARDA) to consider the possibility of introducing this wearable device in more places and commercializing it for widespread use.