A student is to receive a US award for research into wireless antennas that could allow doctors to monitor illnesses remotely.
Gareth Conway’s wireless system measures a patient’s heart rate and other health signals gathered by sensors could be sent to a control unit on the body then accessed by doctors via the internet or mobile phone.
One other possible use could be to monitor firefighters’ heartbeat, respiration and movement as they tackle a blaze.
Dr William Scanlon, who was also involved in the Queen’s University research project, said: “We could change the way that a range of illnesses, injuries and conditions are monitored, perhaps within five years.”
The antennas, Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) technology, can be fitted almost anywhere on the patient without causing significant inconvenience and are sufficiently low-profile to be incorporated into clothing or worn as part of a wound dressing.
They are up to 50 times more efficient than previously available designs of the same dimensions.
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