Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MIT Develops BP Sensor

Visits to the doctor’s office can provoke anxiety that distorts blood pressure readings and only provides one time snapshots of the patient’s condition but now MIT engineers have built a wearable blood pressure sensor to provide continuous 24/7 monitoring.

The monitor loops around the wrist and the index finger and has been found to be just as accurate as traditional cuff devices but much less cumbersome, allowing the user to wear the device for hours or days at a time.

“The human body is so complex, but if you get signals all of the time, you can see the trends and capture the physical condition quite well according to Harry Asada, Ford Professor of Engineering and Director of MIT’s d’Arbeloff Laboratory for Information Systems and Technology. He is the MIT mechanical engineer who led the development of the new monitor.

The company CardioSign is working on commercializing the device and hopes to start clinical trials soon. Asada believes that a commercial version of the device could be available within five years, once it becomes easier to use, more reliable, and cheaper to manufacture.

The latest prototype developed jointly by Sharp Corporation and Dr. Andrew Reisner with Massachusetts General Hospital, has taken the lead in clinical applications and human subject tests.