Cyprus Mail

New tech could monitor patients’ vital signs touch-free

Bones Mccoy Medical Tricorder

Research involving a partnership with Frederick University research centre has resulted in the development of a new technique which monitors a patient’s vital signs completely touch-free by using wireless radar technology.

It can accurately measure an individual’s heart and respiratory rates without the need for wires, probes, wearable technology or other skin attachments, which sounds similar to the Star Trek tricorder.

The method was developed by the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, with the participation of the University of Edinburgh, University of Crete, The Frederick Research Centre and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre in Glasgow.

Researcher Simos Nicolaou was the main researcher from Frederick involved in the project due to his expertise in wireless power transfer.

“I took part in the project for about 12 months, starting in 2019,” Nicolaou, an associate professor of the electrical, computer engineering and informatics department told the Cyprus Mail.

“Due to the coronavirus, the work took place in our labs, and we exchanged ideas,” he added.

Originally, the idea was an exchange of personnel who would work in each others’ labs.

“Doctor Anagnostou from Heriot-Watt was supposed to come here several times and I was supposed to travel to the UK but this didn’t happen.”

Part of the research, in Cyprus and the UK, was funded by the Cypriot Research Innovation Foundation.

Heriot-Watt University has said it will benefit people of all ages as well as those with Covid-19 where the risk of cross-infection is high.

“Continuous monitoring of an individual’s vital signs can be necessary for several reasons,” Dimitris Anagnostou, associate professor and project lead told the media.

“In hospital, it helps clinicians to determine which patients need urgent help, if someone is improving and can provide early warning signs of a more significant problem allowing quicker intervention.”

“For infants and young children, extended use of electrodes and probes can cause skin damage as well as additional distress.”

“Burn patients and those with compromised skin conditions are more challenging to monitor for long periods with wired devices.”

“Our technology allows a patient full mobility while being monitored 24/7.”

“Our approach has wide-reaching applications for the treatment of Covid-19 and can allow the progression of the virus to be monitored long-term without increasing the risk of infection.”

The team has produced a prototype and will now trial technology that shows when a person has fallen or if their daily movements have significantly changed.

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