Wearable sensor patches to be a game changer in stroke recovery

Engineers at The Northwestern University, in partnership with a Chicago based research hospital – Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, has recently developed a connected sensor patch that could allow clinicians to better monitor stroke patients. Apparently, this ground breaking new wearable design that would be worn on the throat is regarded to be a game changer in the field of stroke rehabilitation.

If reports are to be believed, these new wearable sensors are powered by the stretchable electronic technology that has been developing in the healthcare industry. Owing to the greater flexibility and smaller size, this technology is also reported to be both comfortable for patients and accurate enough to measure the metrics for the rehabilitation purpose. According to researchers, the wearable sensor patches measures the speech pattern and swallowing metrics of the patients that is further used by the clinicians to diagnose and treat aphasia.

The research related to the material and the implication of stretchable electronics technology for stroke rehabilitation treatment was presented by John A. Rogers, a professor at the Northwestern University, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Austin, Texas.

At the annual meeting, Rogers was apparently quoted stating that the wearable sensor patches have a greater advantage over the usual microphones which are used in measuring patients’ speech. These microphones have poor ability to decide between the patient’s voice and other ambient noise, however, the wearable sensor patches can directly meter the vibrations of a patient’s vocal cords that too in a rather comfortable manner, says Rogers. He further added that the research team has developed novel materials for this sensor that can easily stretch and bend with the body to maximize the patients’ comfort, however, the sensors will only work when they are worn right on the throat, which is apparently a very sensitive area of the skin.

For the record, Roger’s lab is also joining forces with the research hospital to measure the impact of the sensor on other diseases as well, such as Parkinson’s.