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Researchers Develop Lung-Heart Sensor on Chip Smaller Than Ladybug

During a walk, a woman’s breathing turns into a slight bit shallower, and a monitor in her clothing notifies her to get a telemedicine check-up. New research details how a sensor chip tinier than a ladybug records a number of lung and heart alerts along with body movements and will allow such a future socially distanced health monitor.

Researchers Develop Lung-Heart Sensor on Chip Smaller Than Ladybug

The core mechanism of the chip built by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology features two finely developed layers of silicon, which overlay each other separated by the space of 270 nanometers—about 0.005 the width of a human hair. They carry a minute voltage.

Alerts from physical movements and sounds put aside of the chip in flux, making the voltage increase, too, thus generating readable electronic signals. In human testing, the chip has recorded a variety of alerts from the mechanical workings of the lungs and the heart with clarity, signals that often escape significant detection by present medical technology.

The chip, which acts as an advanced electronic stethoscope and accelerometer in a single, is aptly called an accelerometer contact microphone.

It detects vibrations that enter the chip from inside the body while avoiding distracting noise from outside the body’s core like airborne sounds

The detection bandwidth is enormous—from broad, sweeping motions to inaudibly high-pitched tones. Thus, the sensor chip records minute details of the heartbeat, pulse waves traversing the body’s tissues, respiration charges, and lung sounds.

It even tracks the wearer’s physical actions, such as walking.

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