The patch, which weighs less than one-hundredth of an ounce, can help doctors monitor heart health, stomach condition, vocal cord activity, lung performance and potentially many other bodily functions, researchers say.
The patch is designed to “Listen” through skin, tissue and fluid to register the telltale sounds and vibrations generated as you breathe, eat, move and sleep.
Such signaling might even track the function of implantable mechanical devices, such as a heart pump.
Because more than one type of acoustic signal can be registered at a time, the patch can keep track of multiple concerns simultaneously, the study authors said.
The patch can also be outfitted with electrodes that can record electrocardiogram signals to keep track of the electrical health of a patient’s heart, according to the researchers.
The researchers have tested a range of such possibilities in the lab, and also among a group of elderly volunteers at a private cardiology clinic in Tucson, Ariz. For example, the patch was used to monitor the cardiovascular health of an 82-year-old woman diagnosed with heart valve trouble and an irregular heartbeat.
“These types of noninvasive sensors, which have the profile of a small wearable skin patch, are likely to be well received by patients,” he said.