Researchers at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago have created a new wearable device designed to catch early symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor patients with the illness as it progresses.
The small device, about the size of a postage stamp, sits gently on the throat. It monitors cough, fever, heart rate and respiratory activity, continuously measuring and producing data that could uncover subtle, but potentially life-saving, insights.
Currently, the devices are being used at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab by COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers who treat them. About 25 affected patients began using the wearable devices two weeks ago.
"Nobody has ever collected this type of data before," says Northwestern's John A. Rogers in a press release. Rogers has led the technology development in the project. "Earlier detection is always better and our devices provide important and unique capabilities in that context."
In the coming weeks, the Northwestern and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab teams will continue their research, collecting data at the clinic and at home. Researchers hope that the devices will soon be used to detect COVID-19 early in healthcare workers and monitor COVID-19 positive patients while they recover.