Microtechnology and medicine joined forces and the result is a 0.9 mm long subcutaneous implant that monitors breath and heartbeat without the use of batteries.
One of the goals of modern medicine is the production of ever smaller subcutaneous implants that provide data on the patient’s health. The biggest obstacle is the reduction in battery size. A research group at the National University of Singapore made a big leap forward in achieving this goal. The research involved the Institute for Health Innovation and Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering, led by Professor John Ho.
The size reduction was possible thanks to a new wireless reader extremely sensitive and able to detect minimal changes in sub-millimetric sensors. The sensitivity of the reader allowed the construction of a very small sensor that emits very weak signals. The wireless reader is calibrated in order to work in a specific point, in this way it can receive the weak sensor signal.
The 0.9 mm diameter sensor can be implanted under the skin with a syringe and the reader is able to monitor breath rate and heart rate by detecting the subtle movements of the microsensor. The product is the result of two years of work, presented for the first time in Nature Electronics magazine. This research is a further step towards an increasingly smart and accessible medicine that allows a continuous and effective monitoring of our health.