The European Union is funding a project, to be led by Philips Electronics, which aims to develop a hospital bed capable of assessing a patient’s heart rate, sleep quality, temperature, and a number of other criteria. All this is to be done passively by the bed without the need to explicitly wire up the patient.
The bed would include, not only an electronic weight scale and blood pressure monitor, but also sensors which measure heart rate, breathing rate and body movement while sleeping.
In addition, the patient could wear a vest with woven-in electrodes to provide a full electro-cardiogram reading.
All this information would be analysed on a PDA and the results sent via a telephone line or broadband connection to doctors.
The device, it is claimed, could even provide clues to interrupted sleep by measuring sleep phase patterns.