In tomorrow’s medical suite, you won’t be hooked up to cart-mounted machines to track your heart rate or wrap a cuff around your bicep to measure your blood pressure. Medics will just slap a sticker on your chest.
Researchers at the U.S. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed the “VitalTag” to quickly monitor a range of indicators in accident victims. The sticky strip adheres across the upper chest and has wireless sensors that can be clipped to an earlobe and slipped onto a finger like a ring.
The gadget continuously checks heart rate and rhythm, respiration rates, blood oxygen levels, and indicators of whether you’re going into shock, among other signs. The data is then sent wirelessly to a smartphone or digital notebook.
The strip will allow first responders in emergencies to monitor several victims at once without hooking them all up to bulky electronic boxes. Changes in a victim’s condition can be seen in real time, letting EMTs know who needs immediate attention and who can wait.
The continuing miniaturization of medical sensors and monitors will speed and simplify medical procedures while also reducing their cost.