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IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2016 Sep;20(5):1251-1264. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2016.2573286. Epub 2016 May 26.

Low-Power Wearable Systems for Continuous Monitoring of Environment and Health for Chronic Respiratory Disease.


We present our efforts toward enabling a wearable sensor system that allows for the correlation of individual environmental exposures with physiologic and subsequent adverse health responses. This system will permit a better understanding of the impact of increased ozone levels and other pollutants on chronic asthma conditions. We discuss the inefficiency of existing commercial off-the-shelf components to achieve continuous monitoring and our system-level and nano-enabled efforts toward improving the wearability and power consumption. Our system consists of a wristband, a chest patch, and a handheld spirometer. We describe our preliminary efforts to achieve a submilliwatt system ultimately powered by the energy harvested from thermal radiation and motion of the body with the primary contributions being an ultralow-power ozone sensor, an volatile organic compounds sensor, spirometer, and the integration of these and other sensors in a multimodal sensing platform. The measured environmental parameters include ambient ozone concentration, temperature, and relative humidity. Our array of sensors also assesses heart rate via photoplethysmography and electrocardiography, respiratory rate via photoplethysmography, skin impedance, three-axis acceleration, wheezing via a microphone, and expiratory airflow. The sensors on the wristband, chest patch, and spirometer consume 0.83, 0.96, and 0.01 mW, respectively. The data from each sensor are continually streamed to a peripheral data aggregation device and are subsequently transferred to a dedicated server for cloud storage. Future work includes reducing the power consumption of the system-on-chip including radio to reduce the entirety of each described system in the submilliwatt range.

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