Researchers to develop ultra-miniature implantable sensors to measure blood flow
Physicians and surgeons will someday monitor a patient's blood flow, blood pressure and temperature with tiny, implanted devices, thanks to research being conducted by a Cornell University professor and an Ithaca-area high-tech firm.
This new technology is being developed by Edwin Kan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell, and Transonic Systems of Ithaca. Kan performed much of his research for these devices at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility. Earlier this month, Kan's research received a boost in the form of a $255,000 grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR).
NYSTAR grants help academic research institutions and businesses move high-tech innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace. Transonic Systems – itself a highly successful spin-off of the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine – is contributing significant staff time and funds to this research effort.
"The product is aimed to enhance today's patient monitoring tools," Kan explained. "Future surgical monitoring equipment could consist of microscopic implants or sensor systems integrated with present tools."
Kan noted that these miniature sensors can be as small as 100 microns in length by 100 microns in width, and with development, these sizes could shrink to several microns. To give that size some perspective, the average human hair ranges from 40 microns to 120 microns in diameter. The advantage of such tiny, implanted sensors is that they can provide separate readings for particular organs in a patient. They also can be unobtrusively implanted in patients who require constant physiological monitoring.
Transonic Systems already produces miniature devices for measuring blood flow in physiology and pharmacology studies. According to Transonic project engineer Bruce McKee, "Dr. Kan's technology could create even smaller patient monitoring sensors that simultaneously measure blood pressure, blood chemistry and temperature."
Source: Cornell University