Hospital patients may get vitals monitored with microwaves in the future

Shane McGlaun - Nov 12, 2010
Hospital patients may get vitals monitored with microwaves in the future

Before becoming a full time geek, I had a real job that required a degree in the medical field. I spent over ten years in the hospital and clinical setting and the thing I hated the most about the job was having to wire people up with electrodes for EKG and vital sign monitoring. Sometimes people are just plain gross. Think about the nastiest, grossest, haven’t bathed in a week skanky woman and then think about having to see her hooters and stick little stickers all over her chest… epic suck.

People that work in the hospital of the future might be speared this horrible duty and patients will be able to keep their clothes on as well. A couple scientists – Atsushi Mase and Daisuke Nagae, at Kyushu University in Japan – have developed a system that uses weak microwaves to gather vital signs. The microwaves respond differently with the rising and falling of the chest or the beating of the heart allowing a processor to glean important things about the condition of the person without having to touch them.

The scientists have so far been able to get a patients heart rate in near real time. The tech may also find uses outside the hospital as well in daily health monitoring and possibly in vehicles for looking for signs of sleepiness. The tech could also be used by the TSA to find people that are stressed signaling they might be up to no good as a precursor to a full on cavity search.

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