Researchers develop first wearable for continuous monitoring of body sounds

This soft, wireless device prototype can continuously monitor the body sounds inside and outside of a patient, including premature babies. [Photo courtesy of Northwestern University]

Northwestern University researchers have developed wearable devices for continuously monitoring the sounds made by a patient’s body, such as breathing, heartbeats and digestion.

The soft devices stick to a patient’s skin and use two high-performance, digital microphones to listen to sounds inside and outside the body. One of the microphones faces inside the patient, while the other faces outward and an algorithm separates external and internal sounds.

“Lungs don’t produce enough sound for a normal person to hear,” Northwestern Medicine thoracic surgeon Dr. Ankit Bharat said in a post at the university’s website. “They just aren’t loud enough, and hospitals can be noisy places. When there are people ta…

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