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Technology for vital sign monitoring devices

A comprehensive view of someone’s health can’t really be established in a doctor’s office. That’s why imec develops technologies that pave the way toward clinical-grade devices for ambulatory, unobtrusive health monitoring.

How do you assess someone’s general health? The quickest way is to check his vital signs, such as body temperature, heart/breathing rate and blood pressure – with devices that you’ll find in any general practitioner’s office. 

However, this picture may be distorted, because:

  1. It’s a snapshot: a singular moment in time that can differ significantly from someone’s average health state.
  2. It’s taken in artificial conditions that don’t resemble a person’s day-to-day circumstances, which can impact the results.
  3. It’s influenced by the presence of a doctor or a nurse, the so-called white coat effect.

Longitudinal and ambulatory vital sign monitoring is the way to improve the reliability of health evaluations. But that’s only possible through devices that are so small and unobtrusive that a person can comfortably wear them during his daily routine, or that are invisibly integrated into our surroundings. 

Imec is working on technologies and solutions for vital sign monitoring devices, and the translation of their collected data into actionable health insights.

Join our research

Wearable and non-contact devices monitor a variety of vital signs

Wearable prototypes such as a disposable health patch contain a biomedical sensor system-on-chip that can register and process multiple physical parameters. And we’re also looking at technologies for non-contact vital sign sensing based on capacitive and radar sensing.

In this way, our sensors are able to track parameters such as:

  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • photoplethysmogram (PPG)
  • impedance cardiogram (ICG)
  • ultrasound (PMUT/CMUT)
  • piezoelectricity

Based on these parameters, our algorithms calculate actionable health information:

  • heart rate
  • heart rate variability
  • blood pressure
  • blood pressure variation during the day or over several days
  • breathing rate
  • body water
  • specific arrhythmias or anomalies
  • ...

vital sign monitoring device

Imec’s disposable health patch for vital sign monitoring.
This prototype device can be further developed and adapted to
your specific product and application requirements.

Completing the health picture

The biggest challenge is to combine all that information about vital signs – often from several monitoring devices – into one meaningful output

The ultimate goal is to be able to instantly answer questions such as: ‘Your heart rate is slightly elevated today. What does that mean in light of your other health data or your diagnosed condition?’

The applications of such insights are plentiful: from clinical devices that automatically dispense the right dose of medicine to advanced driver-assistance systems that sound the alarm when all your health parameters indicate that you’re dozing off behind the wheel.

For another example, check out our collaboration with Onera, on the development of wearable and disposable sleep diagnostic device.

Develop your vital sign monitoring devices with imec

Join one of our R&D programs to get access to our technology platforms and tune them to your own product requirements. Imec’s expertise is built on years of experience in chip and system design, in co-creation with industrial partners and clinical experts. 

Or enter into a bilateral collaboration with imec and trust on our in-house expertise for the development of your vital sign monitoring systems – all the way up to the clinical validation and FDA approval of your solution.

Want to join our research? Need an experienced partner to speed up your development?

Get in touch

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