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A Breakthrough for Cardiac Monitoring: Portable Smart Patch Makes It Possible for Real-time Observation of Heart Movement
Newly invented device makes the monitoring easier and convenient. Professor Hoi-Jun Yoo of KAIST, Department of Electrical Engineering, said that his research team has invented a smart patch for cardiac monitoring, the first of its kind in the world. Adhesive and can be applied directly to chest in human body, the patch is embedded with a built-in high performance semiconductor integrated circuit (IC), called Healthcare IC, and with twenty five electrodes formed on the patch’s surface. The 25-electrodes, with a capability of creating various configurations, can detect cardiac contractions and relaxations and collect electrocardiogram (ECG) signals. The Healthcare IC monitors ECG signals and sends the information to a portable data terminal like mobile phones, making it possible for a convenient, easy check up on cardiac observations. The key technologies used for the patch are the Healthcare IC that measures cardiovascular impedance and ECG signals, and the electronic circuit board made of four layers of fabric, between which electrodes, wireless antenna, circuit board, and flexible battery are installed. With the P-FCB (Planar Fashionable Circuit Board) technology, the research team explained, electrodes and a circuit board are directly stacked into the fabric. Additionally, the Healthcare IC (size: 5mm x 5mm), which has components of electrode control unit, ECG and cardiovascular resistance detection unit, data compression unit, Static Random Access Memory (SRAM), and wireless transmitter receiver, is attached on the fabric. The Healthcare IC is operated by an ultra-low electrical power. Like a medicated patch commonly used to relieve arthritis pains, the surface of smart patch is adhesive so that people can carry it around without much hassle. A finished product will be 15cm x 15 cm in size and 1mm high in thickness. The Healthcare IC can measure cardiovascular impedance variances with less than 0.81% distortion in 16 different configurations through differential current injectors and reconfigurable high sensitivity detection circuitry. “The patch will be ideal for patients who suffer a chronic heart disease and need to receive a continuous care for their condition. Once commercialized, the patch will allow the patients to conduct a self-diagnosis at anytime and anywhere,” said Yan Long, a member of the research team. There has been a continuously growing demand worldwide since 2000 for the development of technology that provides a suitable healthcare management to patients with a chronic heart disease (e.g., cardiovascular problems), but most of the technology developed today are only limited to monitoring electrical signals of heart activity. Cardiovascular monitors, commonly used at many of healthcare places nowadays, are too bulky to use and give uncomfortable feelings to patients when applied. Besides, the current monitors are connected to an electrical line for power supply, and they are unable to have a low power communication with an outdoor communication gadget, thus unavailable for wide use. Professor Yoo gave his presentation on this new invention at an international conference, International Solid-State Circuits Conference, held on February 8-10 in San Francisco. The subject of his presentation was “A 3.9mW 25-electorde Reconfigurable Thoracic Impedance/ECG SoC with Body-Channel Transponder.” (Picture 1) Structure of Smart Patch (Picture 2) Smart patch when applied onto human body (Picture 3) Data received from smart patch (Picture 4) Healthcare IC
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