Wearable Technology To Monitor Disease
Technology has something for everything these days, now even disease monitoring. A wearable vapor sensor that is currently under development at the University of Michigan might just offer disease monitoring continuously for patients who have diabetes, lung disease, anemia and high blood pressure. The market for wearable technology itself is exploding and expected to go up to $14 billion by the next four years or so.
The sensor will be able to detect chemicals that are airborne, from either being released through the skin or exhaled from the lungs, and will most likely be one of the first, if not the only, piece of wearable technology that will be able to pick up on a broad array of not physical, but chemical attributes. The researchers at the University of Michigan are working together with the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program for the purpose of moving the gadget out of the labs and into the market.
When it comes to wearable technology, everything that could ever be done, is about to get done. Technology has come a long way, from the first ever computer all the way to a piece of technology that can be worn to monitor someone who has issues with their diabetes. The world we live in is truly extraordinary, and technology has yet to slow down.
Each disease that can be detected by the device has its own special biomarker, such as acetone for diabetes. It will also be able to detect oxygen and nitric oxide and abnormal levels overall which could further pinpoint lung disease, anemia and high blood pressure, to name a few. The sensor will also be able to identify a broader array of chemicals as well. The sensor is being developed by Fan and Zhaohui Zhong, who is an associate professor of computer engineering and electrical, as well Girish Kulkarni, who is a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering. The researchers have said that the device is smaller, more reliable and faster than the counterparts that are too bulky and big to be worn.
The sensor also has applications that have the ability to register and notify of a hazardous chemical presence in places like a lab, or public area. This application alone could save lives, and will prove itself to be extremely beneficial to those who work in careers or industries that are surrounded by chemicals. Once the sensor has detected a chemical leak, data about the overall air quality will be provided.
“With our platform technology,” says Zhong, “we are able to measure a wide variety of chemicals at the same time, or modify the device to target specific chemicals. There are limitless possibilities here.”
The researchers, to create this piece of technology, took an extremely unique approach when it comes to detecting molecules. Kulkarni says that, “Nanoelectronic sensors typically depend on detecting charge transfer between the sensor and a select molecule that is currently in the air at the time, or in the solution.”
By Linda Green
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