Sounding The Alarm
Asthmatics may be familiar with the certain types of activities or places they should avoid, but suffering from an acute asthma attack is still a possibility. This is why researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a wearable warning system capable of monitoring a patient’s environment and bodily functions, enabling the device to warn the patient of an imminent asthma attack.
The Health and Environmental Tracker (HET) has three components. The first is a patch that sticks directly onto the patient’s chest, tracking movement, heart and respiratory rates, as well as wheezing in the lungs. The second is a wristwatch that focuses on tracking the patient’s environment such as humidity and temperature, but also has a body monitor capable of tracking the patient’s heart rate.
The HET’s third component, called the spirometer, is not wearable unlike the first two. Patients breathe into this device several times each day to measure their lung function. Perhaps what sets HET apart from other similar body and environment monitoring devices is that its components are powered by the wearer’s movements and body heat. That means its power consumption levels are extremelw low.
The concept has already been successfully tested on a small number of human subjects. Over the next few months, the team at NC State plans to test the device in a controlled environment.