Since the Novel Coronavirus hit the world back in January of this year, we have seen many companies and organisations create ways to track COVID-19 — the disease caused by Coronavirus. Now, there is a flexible band-aid-like device that can monitor for COV-19 symptoms by analysing coughs and breathing of a person.
The device, built by the Northweatern University of Chicago in collaboration with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, sits at the base of a person’s throat and monitors his/her coughing and breathing to predict if that person is infected.
It was previously a device that was used to monitor speech and swallowing in stroke-hit patients in recovering stages. However, the team tweaked the device to track the cough and breathing troubles (primary for COV-19 patients) of a person.
Now, the device does not use a microphone as it is too intrusive for a person’s privacy. Instead, it uses a “high-bandwidth, tri-axis accelerometer to measure the movement of the surface of the skin”, according to the Director of Northwestern University’s Center on Bio-Integrated Electronics, John Rogers.
As it is a small flexible device integrated with a sensor, it does not have any ports to enable a wired connection. So, users can place the device on a wireless charger once a day to charge it up. While the device charges up, it also uploads all the data collected to a nearby iPad, which then uploads it to an HIPAA-approved cloud. Once the upload is completed, a proprietary AI analyses the data for any irregularities that are correlated with COVID-19.
The team is delivering the device to various healthcare institutions bundled with an iPad and the wireless charger in the box.
Now, as the device is still in its early stages, the already AI-analysed data are double verified by human operators before they are sent to medical facilities. As of now, twenty-five people have been wearing the device for two weeks and as a result, around 1 TB of data has been uploaded to the cloud sized which is consist data of about 1500 hours.