Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Infant Monitoring Improving

Health sensing systems for premature infants must be extremely sensitive to account for thermal gradients which can affect the health of the infant. Due to the premature infants’ very small size, vitals regulation is extremely important because their body mass and hydration is lower with than normal infants. Most monitors used today with premature infants operate with limited detection sensing and do not provide complete information.

Mechanical engineering graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a health monitoring wrap which will provide accurate and versatile vitals sensing while also providing thermal and hydration regulation.

The wrap has several advantages. For example, the wrap is able to monitor an infant’s heart-rate, temperature and hydration and will help to mitigate SIDS. The wrap design can provide wireless real-time information to the nursing staff or parents on the condition of the infant by using centralized computers, cell phones, and PDAs. In addition, the wireless system uses MOTE technology developed at Berkeley for multifunctional sensing and detection, which enables the nurses to monitor more children in parallel.

When conditions are not normal, the software can wirelessly send signals to environmental and warning detection control systems to adjust real-time thermal and humidity settings, and at the same time alert the nurses or parents to physically check the infant.

For more information on the “Wireless Vitals Monitoring System for Premature Infant Sensing” case number B08-002, contact the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances at UC Berkeley, Curt A Theisen, at curt@berkeley.edu or call (510) 643-7201.