Lung-Heart Super Sensor on a Chip Tinier Than a Ladybug

Square speck with enormous listening abilities

A square black dot with huge abilities to record lung and heart data. Credit: Georgia Tech / Ayazi lab

During a stroll, a woman’s breathing becomes a slight bit shallower, and a monitor in her clothing alerts her to get a telemedicine check-up. A new study details how a sensor chip smaller than a ladybug records multiple lung and heart signals along with body movements and could enable such a future socially distanced health monitor.

The core mechanism of the chip developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology involves two finely manufactured layers of silicon, which overlay each other separated by the space of 270 nanometers – about 0.005 the width of a human hair. They carry a minute voltage.

Vibrations from bodily motions and sounds put part of the chip in flux, making the voltage flux, too, thus creating readable electronic outputs. In human testing, the chip has recorded a variety of signals from the mechanical workings of the lungs and the heart with clarity, signals that often escape meaningful detection by current medical technology.

“Right now, medicine looks to EKGs (electrocardiograms

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