A UK company started by a group of students from Cambridge University is developing a system to continuously monitor the temperature of the human body – with the aim of predicting when ovulation has occurred.
The new system works by measuring changes in body basal temperature (BBT), a well-known indicator of ovulation. BBT is the lowest temperature that the human body reaches during deep sleep. However, most current methods to determine BBT rely on measuring the temperature immediately after waking, and use this as the “best approximation” of actual BBT.
With the DuoFertility system however, temperature is measured throughout the night, making accurate determination of BBT much easier.
The Cambridge Temperature Concepts‘ system itself consists of a stick-on patch, about 3cm in diameter, which is worn discreetly under the arm. This patch contains a coin-sized circuit that automatically measures and records body temperature every 10 minutes. When a woman wants to know if she is fertile, she uses a hand-held reader, which is about the size of a make-up compact, to read out the temperature data and analyse it – a process that takes about 30 seconds. It then tells her if ovulation has taken place.
In August 2007, the company began a trail to compare the usability of the DuoFertility system with existing products on the market. At present, it believes that its system is more convenient to use than existing methods, because temperature information is automatically recorded and stored and can be downloaded wirelessly whenever it suits the user.
Current prototype devices are about the size of a US dime, 1 Euro cent, or a UK 5 pence piece