Wednesday, January 9, 2008

ORNL and Industry Developing Device

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have been working to improve Noninvasive Medical Technologies miniaturized device called ZOE. The device monitors a person’s hydration level, and by improving the device, the military, home healthcare patients, firefighters, and first responders can benefit.

It is sometimes difficult to maintain proper levels of fluid and each year hundreds of people either die or suffer ill effects because of dehydration. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of troops become dehydrated and suffer from a fluid-electrolyte imbalance. This is of major concern to the military because the soldiers are not able to perform at peak levels.

Presently, Noninvasive Medical Technologies has ZOE on the market, but the device is now used primarily in home healthcare situations. The company’s goal is to improve the product, make it more robust, smaller, less expensive, and use to monitor individuals remotely.The researchers at ORNL were able to reduce the system to an integrated circuit or chip, which reduced the amount of power to operate the unit and also lowered the cost. A wearable wireless version of the ZOE instrument referred to as ZOEwi, will allow monitoring during activity and is planned for market introduction in 2008, according to Jeremy Copeland, Vice President of Marketing for Noninvasive Medical Technologies.