Wearable sensor patches — miniature biotelemetric units — have been proposed for use in measuring temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and possibly other physiological parameters. The sensor patches would be small and could be mass-produced inexpensively by use of state-of-the-art techniques for batch fabrication of integrated circuits and microelectromechanical systems.

Each patch would be no larger than a few centimeters on a side — comparable in size to an ordinary adhesive bandage. The patch could even be held on the wearer's skin by the same adhesive as that used on bandages. The patch (see figure) would contain a noninvasive microelectromechanical sensor integrated with electronic circuitry that would process the sensor output and transmit a radio signal modulated by the processed sensor output.

Microelectromechanical Sensors and Electronic Circuits for radio telemetry would be contained in a small patch worn on the skin. A nearby hand-held radio transceiver would provide radio-frequency excitation to energize the circuits and would receive the sensor-readout radio signal from the patch.

The patch would not contain a battery. Instead, the patch would contain a circuit for extracting power from an incident radio beam that would be present during readout. For readout, a hand-held radio transceiver would be positioned near the patch; the transceiver would transmit the radio beam to supply power to the patch circuitry and would receive the modulated radio signal transmitted from the patch.

This work was done by Gisela Lin and William Tang of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.nasatech.com/tsp  under the Bio-Medical category.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to

Technology Reporting Office
Mail Stop 122-116
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
(818) 354-2240

Refer to NPO-20651, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Wearable sensor patches for physiological monitoring

(reference NPO-20651) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the February, 2000 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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