Disposable sensor provides at-home monitoring of swallowing disorders
If someone has a swallowing disorder, they typically have to pay regular visits to a clinic, where their throat is monitored as they perform swallowing exercises. A new sensor could change that, allowing patients to be remotely monitored in their homes.
The inexpensive device was created at Indiana's Purdue University, by a team led by Assoc. Prof. Georgia A. Malandraki and Asst. Prof. Chi Hwan Lee. It adheres to the skin on the underside of the patient's jaw, between their chin and neck. Electrical cables run from it to a transmitter module that's clipped onto their shirt.
As they perform their swallowing exercises throughout a period of days to weeks within their own home, the sensor measures and records the associated muscle activity. The transmitter wirelessly relays that data to a cloud-based server, where it can be accessed at any time or place by their doctor. If no internet access is available, the data can also simply be recorded for later perusal.
The sensing device itself is flexible, stretchable, and should be fairly cheap to manufacture. It's designed to last for about 10 uses, after which it's discarded.
The scientists are now in the process of commercializing the technology, through their spinoff company Curasis LLC.
"We want to provide a reliable, patient-friendly and affordable way to treat the millions of people with swallowing disorders," says Malandraki. "Many devices to help these people are expensive, not able to be taken home and not accessible in many rural areas."
Source: Purdue University