The flexible stick-on sensor that is able to monitor the activity of the nearby...
The flexible stick-on sensor that is able to monitor the activity of the nearby muscles and movement of the larynx in real-time.
Source: Jared Pike/Purdue University

Wearable sensor to help treat swallowing disorders

A wearable monitoring device to make treatments easier and more affordable for the millions of people with swallowing disorders is about to be released into the market. Georgia A. Malandraki, an associate professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences in Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, and Chi Hwan Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering, founded Curasis LLC and serve as an acting chief executive officer and chief technology officer, respectively.

They started the company to commercialize their wearable technology and move it as quickly as possible to clinics and people with swallowing difficulties. “We want to provide a reliable, patient-friendly and affordable way to treat the millions of people with swallowing disorders,” Malandraki said. “Many devices to help these people are expensive, not able to be taken home and not accessible in many rural areas.”

The researchers created a skin-mountable sensor sticker that attaches firmly to the neck area and is connected with small cables to a wireless transmitter unit. The sensor measures and records muscle activity and movement associated with swallowing. The information is then sent wirelessly by a separate unit clipped on the wearer’s shirt to software that stores it for later analysis by a doctor.

Successful completion of a swallow requires the precise coordination of more than 30 pairs of muscles of the head and neck, six pairs of cranial nerves, and complex circuitry in the brainstem and several brain areas. Any disruption in these pathways can result in severe swallowing disorders. More than 9 million adults and more than 500,000 children experience severe swallowing disorders each year in the U.S. “Our device is unique in that we specifically created it to work well with the small and intricate muscles associated with swallowing events,” Lee said. “The sensor sticker is stretchable and flexible to work well with the skin and curvilinear head and neck shape, while the connected unit has electronic chips and more rigid components.”

The sensor stickers are disposable, designed with inexpensive components and meant to be used about 10 times before they are thrown away. Malandraki and Lee have completed pre-clinical tests of the device and are currently conducting clinical trials.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Wearable devices set to diagnose preeclampsia or epilepsy

Wearable devices set to diagnose preeclampsia or epilepsy

Transforming how common health conditions are diagnosed using point-of-care and wearable bio diagnostic devices is the goal of a new University of South Australia project.

Wearable strain sensor uses light for monitoring

Wearable strain sensor uses light for monitoring

Researchers have developed a novel wearable strain sensor based on the modulation of optical transmittance of a carbon nanotube (CNT)-embedded elastomer.

3D printing helps form wearable sensor

3D printing helps form wearable sensor

Researchers have developed a highly sensitive wearable pressure sensor for health monitoring applications and early diagnosis of diseases.

Wearable sweat sensor detects Gout-causing compounds

Wearable sweat sensor detects Gout-causing compounds

Researchers describe a mass-producible wearable sensor that can monitor levels of metabolites and nutrients in a person's blood by analyzing their sweat.

Can ‘smart toilets’ be the next

Can ‘smart toilets’ be the next

Wearables are transforming the ability to monitor and improve health, but a decidedly low-tech commodity—the humble toilet—may have potential to outperform them all.

Wearables predict frailty, disability and death

Wearables predict frailty, disability and death

Researchers analyzed patterns of movement among elderly study participants and found that irregular, spontaneous fluctuations could predict a person's risk of frailty, disability and death years later.

Ingestible pill monitors the stomach for up to a month

Ingestible pill monitors the stomach for up to a month

Engineers have designed an ingestible pill that quickly swells to the size of a soft, squishy ping-pong ball big enough to stay in the stomach for an extended period of time.

A wearable soft sensor

A wearable soft sensor

Biocompatible sensor could be used in diagnostics, therapeutics, human-computer interfaces, and virtual reality.

Wearable device measures cortisol in swea

Wearable device measures cortisol in swea

By drawing in a bit of sweat, a patch developed in the lab of Alberto Salleo can reveal how much cortisol a person is producing. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone but is involved in many important physiological functions.

Popular articles