The sounds out bodies make can provide important information about our health.
This is why doctors often rely on the sounds of heartbeat, breathing, and digestion to receive information about what’s happening inside a patient’s body.
To make those evaluations as frequent and efficient as possible, Northwestern University researchers have developed soft, miniaturized wearable devices. Attached to the skin, the wearables can continuously and simultaneously track sounds at multiple multiple locations in the body.
In pilot studies, the devices were tested on premature babies with respiratory and intestinal motility disorders, as well as adults, including people with chronic lung diseases. The devices performed with clinical-grade accuracy and offered new functionalities that could improve the detail and efficiency of health checks.
“Currently, there are no existing methods for continuously monitoring and spatially mapping body sounds at home or in hospital settings,” said John A. Rogers, a bioelectronics pioneer who led the device development, in a press release. “Physicians have to put a conventional, or a digital, stethoscope on different parts of the chest and back to listen to the lungs in a point-by-point fashion. In close collaborations with our clinical teams, we set out to develop a new strategy for monitoring patients in real-time on a continuous basis and without encumbrances associated with rigid, wired, bulky technology.”