Department of Biomedical Engineering Posters and Presentations

Title

Vital Ring: a Wearable Wireless Multiple-Lead ECG Sensor Embedded in a Flexible Finger Ring

Poster Number

104

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-2016

Abstract

I. INTRODUCTION

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is an important tool widely used in the clinical diagnostic of heart diseases. It can be used to diagnose symptoms of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, etc. [1] Among those symptoms, detection and early warning of the potential of heart attack such as myocardial infarction can be crucial in daily life for patients, especially those who live alone, because once happened, it need to be taken immediate care of. Unfortunately, the traditional equipment currently used in the hospital cannot fulfill this real-time on-demand monitoring requirement. To address this problem, the wearable ECG monitoring system comes into play.

Recently, wearable healthcare devices have attracted considerable interest both in the academic and industry. The important role ECG playing in the heart disease diagnostic and the convenient noninvasive way of measurement makes it an ideal candidate to be converted to wearable healthcare device, and have already draw many researchers’ attention. Y. Chi and G. Cauwenberghs at UCSD have demonstrated a wireless ECG/EEG monitoring system using noncontact electrodes. [2] The gel free noncontact electrodes make the wearing of the device more comfortable and cleaner. However, their electrodes are rigid which makes it less compatible to soft human bodies. Moreover, it is uncomfortable to wear several hard electrodes of noticeable sizes. AliveCor® developed a single-lead ECG monitoring system in the smartphone case format, which can monitor the ECG at fingertip and displays on the smartphone screen. This system has gotten FDA approval, which confirms the possibility to achieve a wearable ECG system. Unfortunately, single-lead ECG measurements, which apply to all existing systems, cannot be used to diagnose myocardial infarction. The phone case format makes it convenient to carry around, but, on the other hand, limits it to single-lead measurement only. IMEC® developed a long term multiple-lead ECG monitoring patch, which can be attached to the upper body and last as long as one month. The only drawback is the usage of conduction gel, which is commonly used in the traditional ECG. The sticky gel is difficult to keep clean. Moreover, it can cause allergy to some patients [3]. The IMEC system uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transfer data, which is suited for wearable healthcare equipment because of the low energy consumption and sufficient transfer rate. However, a dedicated BLE data transfer base device in their device is not necessary, because there are many BLE enabled devices available now, such as smartphones and laptops. Using a smartphone to communicate with these wearable devices is convenient, because people carry smartphone around and the smartphone has the ability to further analyze the data, to transfer the data to the physicians, and/or to upload the data to a database.

In this work, we propose and demonstrate a wearable ECG monitoring system capable of providing on-demand multiple-lead ECG signals in the format of a flexible finger ring. Such extreme form factor is enabled by a novel soft electronics/microfluidics co-packaging technique recently developed by us [4]. The flexibility is a key advantage to achieve a comfortable device, and also provides certain durability during impact. We will also use dry electrodes to eliminate the skin reaction issue and the clean issue mentioned before. We will use BLE to transfer the data to smartphone or laptop for further analysis of the data.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

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Presented at: GW Research Days 2016

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Vital Ring: a Wearable Wireless Multiple-Lead ECG Sensor Embedded in a Flexible Finger Ring

I. INTRODUCTION

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is an important tool widely used in the clinical diagnostic of heart diseases. It can be used to diagnose symptoms of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, etc. [1] Among those symptoms, detection and early warning of the potential of heart attack such as myocardial infarction can be crucial in daily life for patients, especially those who live alone, because once happened, it need to be taken immediate care of. Unfortunately, the traditional equipment currently used in the hospital cannot fulfill this real-time on-demand monitoring requirement. To address this problem, the wearable ECG monitoring system comes into play.

Recently, wearable healthcare devices have attracted considerable interest both in the academic and industry. The important role ECG playing in the heart disease diagnostic and the convenient noninvasive way of measurement makes it an ideal candidate to be converted to wearable healthcare device, and have already draw many researchers’ attention. Y. Chi and G. Cauwenberghs at UCSD have demonstrated a wireless ECG/EEG monitoring system using noncontact electrodes. [2] The gel free noncontact electrodes make the wearing of the device more comfortable and cleaner. However, their electrodes are rigid which makes it less compatible to soft human bodies. Moreover, it is uncomfortable to wear several hard electrodes of noticeable sizes. AliveCor® developed a single-lead ECG monitoring system in the smartphone case format, which can monitor the ECG at fingertip and displays on the smartphone screen. This system has gotten FDA approval, which confirms the possibility to achieve a wearable ECG system. Unfortunately, single-lead ECG measurements, which apply to all existing systems, cannot be used to diagnose myocardial infarction. The phone case format makes it convenient to carry around, but, on the other hand, limits it to single-lead measurement only. IMEC® developed a long term multiple-lead ECG monitoring patch, which can be attached to the upper body and last as long as one month. The only drawback is the usage of conduction gel, which is commonly used in the traditional ECG. The sticky gel is difficult to keep clean. Moreover, it can cause allergy to some patients [3]. The IMEC system uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transfer data, which is suited for wearable healthcare equipment because of the low energy consumption and sufficient transfer rate. However, a dedicated BLE data transfer base device in their device is not necessary, because there are many BLE enabled devices available now, such as smartphones and laptops. Using a smartphone to communicate with these wearable devices is convenient, because people carry smartphone around and the smartphone has the ability to further analyze the data, to transfer the data to the physicians, and/or to upload the data to a database.

In this work, we propose and demonstrate a wearable ECG monitoring system capable of providing on-demand multiple-lead ECG signals in the format of a flexible finger ring. Such extreme form factor is enabled by a novel soft electronics/microfluidics co-packaging technique recently developed by us [4]. The flexibility is a key advantage to achieve a comfortable device, and also provides certain durability during impact. We will also use dry electrodes to eliminate the skin reaction issue and the clean issue mentioned before. We will use BLE to transfer the data to smartphone or laptop for further analysis of the data.