Body-monitor plaster

Toumaz Technology, the Abingdon-based provider of wireless monitoring systems, has today begun clinical trials of its ‘digital plaster’ wireless body monitoring device at St Mary’s Hospital in London.



Toumaz Technology, the Abingdon-based provider of wireless monitoring systems, has today begun clinical trials of its ‘digital plaster’ wireless body-monitoring device at St Mary’s Hospital in London.


The disposable wireless plaster has been designed to be worn by a patient for a maximum of three days.


During that time the company claims it provides continuous monitoring of vital signs, including temperature, heart rate and respiration.


The system is based on the company’s Advanced Mixed Signal (AMx) semiconductor IP platform and works using the group’s existing Sensium wireless technology.


Once the information is collected on the internal chip it is sent to a base station where it can be downloaded for analysis.


Initial results from the trials are expected by the end of December 2009 and the group hopes these will reveal an accurate collection of physiological data to match those currently achieved by ‘gold-standard’ monitors.


According to Keith Errey, Toumaz Technology’s co-founder, the AMx semiconductor is at the core of the technology’s ability to provide a low-cost, continuous monitoring solution.


‘AMx is a technology that is extremely power efficient,’ he said.


‘The amount of power it uses is only a few tens of milliwatts per hour stored, so we can use very light-weight, low-cost printed batteries that allow the plasters to be both wearable and disposable.


‘The disposable nature of the technology also reduces the risk of hospital contamination and avoids the problem of having to replace batteries on a regular basis.


‘The digital plaster provides a more rounded view of a patient’s health.


‘Someone wearing this is able to move around while being monitored and this gives a better indication of their vital signs than if somebody was lying very still or only being measured now and again.’


The clinical trials will be carried out in three phases.


The first will be used on non-patient volunteers followed by two patient study groups that will include patients recovering from surgery and patients with specific medical conditions in the general wards.


While the Sensium platform has already undergone extensive testing, Errey claims a potential challenge could be in managing the huge amounts of data generated by wearing such a system.


He believes that this can be overcome by using a server that will send the message back to nurses from the ward, rather than storing the data.


‘The trials will identify issues such as these but once these are resolved we believe the digital plaster will fundamentally change the way people will be cared for in hospitals,’ he said.


‘The next phase is to use this on healthy people who want to monitor their everyday signs.


‘It is absolutely essential that we get this technology into the hospitals so that it becomes a fully medically approved device and technique before we offer it back out into the medical community.’


Ellie Zolfagharifard