News & Views
Health Monitor Technology Offers Potential Lifeline
Mar 22 2018
Monitoring sick babies in remote parts of the world from afar has become more plausible with the creation of wearable technology designed by physicists at the University of Sussex. Equally, parents at home could keep track of their new babies’ heart and breathing rates, with automatic updates to their smart phones using ‘fitness tracker’-style technology built into baby sleep suits.
Professor Alan Dalton, from the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences and his team of physicists at the University of Sussex created a liquid made from an emulsion of graphene, water and oil, which conducts electricity. Because the new liquid technology is so sensitive, it picks up very small signals when attached to the body. The breakthrough* led to the development of a prototype and the team are talking to commercial sponsors to fund further research so that the product can be brought to market.
Professor Dalton said: “Using the conducting liquid emulsions we have developed, we will produce cheap, wearable sensors based on graphene. The devices will be comfortable, non-invasive and can provide intuitive diagnostics of breathing and heart rate. We will eventually have a suit that the baby can wear which will read-out all vital information wirelessly. We hope to see this made available within two to four years.
"In the laboratory we have created a sensor that has the potential to drastically improve early detection of life-threatening symptoms such as sleep apnea or cardiac arrhythmia, where constant monitoring with conventional equipment is challenging outside of the hospital environment.”
'Functional liquid structures by emulsification of graphene and other two-dimensional nanomaterials' published in Nanoscale, 09/01/ 2018. It is authored by Matthew Large, Sean Ogilvie, Manuela Meloni, Aline Amorim Graf, and Giuseppe Fratta at the University of Sussex; Jonathan Salvage at the University of Brighton; Alice King and Alan B. Dalton, also at Sussex.
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