Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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Wireless system provides 'ambient' health monitoring of elderly

Fraunhofer FIT has demonstrated a mobile wireless system that monitors the health of elderly people in their own homes with miniature sensors.

Such Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) systems continuously monitor the patients’ health in their homes and can help reduce the number of visits to the doctor.

Miniaturised sensors integrated in mobile devices that are connected to medical centres can monitor and diagnose patients in their homes without reducing their quality of life.

At Biotechnica 2013, Fraunhofer FIT demonstrated the first system that integrates three different sensors into one platform.

In use, a nano potentiostat measures biochemical information in a patient’s assay, such as glucose, lactate or cholesterol levels.

A fluorescence sensor is used to detect colour-marked biomarkers whilst an SpO2 sensor monitors heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation.

A smartphone app then processes the data from the three sensors and transfers them to a server. For secure data communication, a Bluetooth connection with a specifically developed protocol is used.

‘Our aim was to integrate, in one mobile device, several miniature sensors that measure relevant diagnostic parameters and communicate their data wirelessly,’ said Prof Harald Mathis, head of Biomolecular Optical Systems the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.

‘As devices that measure biometrical data do not use standardised protocols, we developed a sensor platform that takes the data from the different sensors, processes them and sends them to a smartphone. The smartphone can then transmit the data to the patient’s physician.’

The system was developed by Fraunhofer FIT in cooperation with Charité and T-Systems Deutschland in the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research/EU-funded project Nanoelectronics for Mobile AAL Systems – MAS.

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