Northwestern University has revealed a new type of wearable designed to monitor patients for COVID-19 symptoms, one that looks like a large switch or a small bandage when applied to the skin. The wearable is designed to work with data algorithms that enable the device to monitor patients and healthcare workers for signs of the novel coronavirus, including after they leave the hospital.
The wearable was developed by researchers with Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, according to an announcement from the institution. The device was developed specifically for monitoring coronavirus patients, helping doctors identify early signs of the respiratory illness while gathering data on a 24/7 basis.
As demonstrated in the image above, the wearable is designed to be placed at the base of the patient’s neck, where it monitors their respiratory activity and coughing. The researchers explain that their wearable analyzes this data in ways that traditional medical devices aren’t able to.
The team describes the data monitoring as ‘filling a vital data gap,’ shedding light on the illness and helping researchers and doctors better understand it. The wearable has already been deployed for use with patients, though in a limited way.
Northwestern explains that it is being used with around 25 COVID-19 patients who started using it around two weeks ago. They’ve collectively generated more than 1,500 hours of monitoring and more than 1TB of data. The use has taken place both in the clinic and at home. It’s unclear how broadly these wearables may be used in the future.