(Invited) Wearable Sensor Systems for Long Term Health and Environmental Monitoring

Monday, 2 October 2017: 08:10
Chesapeake J (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
V. Misra (ASSIST-NERC, North Carolina State University)
The role of health care continues to be one of the biggest global challenges. Numerous countries are grappling with how to provide effective, yet low cost health care for its citizens. Much of the cost associated with healthcare arise from chronic diseases (heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, etc.). With minimal focus on prevention, proper lifestyle, role of environment (known to impact respiratory diseases and cancers), and limited early diagnosis and management, we are now in a situation where one in three Americans suffer from chronic conditions and most Americans over the age of 65 suffer from multiple chronic conditions. This situation presents a huge burden to health care costs and leads to poor quality of life for our citizens.

 Advanced wearable health platforms have the potential of providing monitoring of an individual’s critical health parameters and their personal environmental exposure in a reliable, accurate, long-term/continuous, hassle-free manner can create a paradigm shift in chronic disease management. Long term monitoring of multiple health and environmental sensors, enabled by ultra-low power electronics and energy harvesting, can have many disruptive benefits. They can: i) prevent negative outcomes by vigilantly monitoring conditions such as arrhythmia, heart rate variability (HRV), epilepsy, etc., ii) provide constant feedback to users on their lifestyle choices, e.g., exercise on wellness/biochemical stress, diet on glycemic index, and more, iii) enable an understanding of the relationship between health and environmental toxins, e.g., ozone and asthma, particulates, and heart rate variability, iv) build personalized health databases for individuals that span years and even decades, e.g., blood pressure variation, and v) predict onset of life threatening health conditions using data analytics and longitudinal data. This talk will present the work being carried out in the NSF funded Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technology (ASSIST) to to build disruptive health platforms that are wearable, wireless, comfortable, powered by the human body, and consist of multimodal health and environment sensors. In this effort, power is being harvested from the human body in the form of heat and movement/strain and utilized very effectively using subthreshold CMOS computation and ultra low power novel radios. In addition, ASSIST is building medically validated low-power health sensors (EKG, hydration, pulse-oximetry, biochemical markers such as cortisol and even personal environmental exposures to toxins such as ozone (related to Asthma triggers) that go much further than simple activity monitoring and provide a significantly more sophisticated understanding of human health due to correlation of multiple/heterogeneous data streams. This combination of harvesting power from the human body and using it effectively using low power logic/radios and sensors enable “forever” powering of sensors by small energy harvesters.

Ultimately, these sensor systems with their miniature form factors, unlimited operating lifetime, reliable sensors for health and wellness supported by infrastructure on ubiquitous mobile platforms that convert data to actionable information have the potential of creating a paradigm shift in future global health. Access to this level of individual health data can revolutionize medical practices, decrease need for hospital admissions, reduce length of hospital stays and hospital readmissions, facilitate rapid diagnosis and effective treatment decisions. These ASSIST technologies can cause disruptive changes in the implementation of the exploding wearable health space and enable society to transition to wellness.