Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced its latest round of grant winners for its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative. Among the recipients is a team from the University of California, San Diego and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that is developing a tiny, flexible fetal monitor. We wrote about the technology behind the device back in August and were able to hear from David Icke, CEO of MC10, the company helping to commercialize it, at both FutureMed in February and at last month’s TEDMED conference.
Described as an electronic “tattoo”, the device is a wearable patch of circuits, sensors, and wireless transmitters that sticks to the skin like a temporary tattoo and is able to stretch and flex with the skin. The researchers hope that the final product will continuously measure and monitor uterine contractions, fetal heart rate and oxygen, and maternal heart rate and body temperature.
According to Todd Coleman, professor of bioengineering and head of the project, the device is unique because of its ability to continuously check a number of different measurements in an unobtrusive manner. Moreover, the device will work well in developing countries that lack sufficient healthcare access, but have high mobile phone usage, as it will transmit data wirelessly to a cellphone and on to the cloud to be viewed by physicians far away.
Be sure to read about some of the other grant winners here. There’s a lot of neat research being done in the areas of vaccines, synthetic biology, and global health.
More info from UCSD: Grand Challenges Explorations Grant Funds Groundbreaking Health Research…
Medgadget Flashback: Sticky News: Electronic Skin Patch Promises Simpler Monitoring