Researchers in Britain have begun a series of clinical trials of “smart plaster,” a disposable bandage with embedded sensors that measure vital signs and wirelessly transmit the readings to a monitoring device.
The first round of trials will test the accuracy of heart rate, body temperature and respiration rate, as measured by the basic bandage. A second set of tests will see how the devices perform when patients with minor conditions take a shower or get x-rays. In the final round, the bandages will monitor patients recovering from serious respiratory ailments. “We need to challenge the device a little bit and make sure it is reliable,” Dr. Nick Oliver, a clinical research fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College in London, told the BBC.
Oliver and others involved in the trials believe the wireless monitors not only could free hospital patients from a tangle of wires, they could help monitor people at home, locate patients at risk of falling or even aid top athletes in their training.