Asthma monitoring on the Web

Aug 22, 2008

An inexpensive web-enabled device for measuring lung function in patients with asthma and other disorders is being developed by researchers at Texas Instruments, in Bangalore, India, and co-workers. Writing in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, the team explains how the devise could allow physicians to monitor their patients remotely and quickly instigate medical attention in an emergency.

Spirometers are commonly used to measure lung capacity and the response of breathing during therapy. However, the widespread application of spirometers is limited in the developing world and in remote regions because of the high instrument cost of the instrument and a lack of specialist healthcare workers trained in its use.

Texas Instruments researcher N.C.S. Ramachandran is an expert in high-speed and low-power digital design and is working with professor of electrical engineering Vivek Agarwal of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, on the development of an inexpensive and easy to operate spirometer that can be quickly hooked up to an internet connection through built-in web and data encryption software.

Simply monitoring cough and wheezing in asthma sufferers does not always provide an accurate assessment of the severity of their symptoms. Breathing tests carried out using a spirometer, on the other hand, are much more accurate and can provide a clear indication of whether or not medication is being effective.

The team has developed the device as a low-cost, portable spirometer built around a pressure sensor for detecting airflow. The sensor is fabricated using technology similar to that for manufacturing computer chips and is based on microelectromechanical system (MEMS). The MEMS spirometer can measures the flow and volume of air moving in and out of the patient's lungs.

The use of mass production techniques for making the MEMS sensor, means the device can be inexpensive (a few dollars per unit), small, and so portable. Embedding of the necessary electronics and software to allow it to connect to a computer and the Web make it ideal for remote monitoring by a patient's healthcare worker. "Not only can the remotely located patient consult a specialist," the researchers say, "the specialist too can instruct the patient for specific test procedures and treatment."

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Explore further: Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

16 hours ago

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

First drone in Nevada test program crashes in demo

Dec 19, 2014

A drone testing program in Nevada is off to a bumpy start after the first unmanned aircraft authorized to fly without Federal Aviation Administration supervision crashed during a ceremony in Boulder City.

Fully automated: Thousands of blood samples every hour

Dec 19, 2014

Siemens is supplying automation technology for the longest and one of the most cutting-edge sample processing lines in any clinical laboratory. The line, or automation track, 200 meters long, in Marlborough, ...

Explainer: What is 4-D printing?

Dec 19, 2014

Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is 30 years old this year. Today, it's found not just in industry but in households, as the price of 3D printers has fallen below US$1,000. Knowing you can p ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.