Stick-on wearable sensors like AmpStrip could be the future of fitness monitoring but they could also soon be used to fight Ebola in West Africa.
A Bluetooth connected wearable, that attaches to the skin like a band-aid, has been awarded funding from the US Agency for International Development to help medical staff remotely monitor Ebola patients' vital signs.
The stick-on sensor is disposable and can measure the body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation of suspected patients and the critically ill.
Using Bluetooth, this data will then be automatically sent to computers, smartphones and tablets and analysed to screen for, confirm and monitor Ebola cases with no risk of medical workers becoming infected themselves. Doctors will be able to access patients' records via specially designed apps and online.
The health and safety of doctors, nurses and charity workers has been an issue since the beginning of the outbreak and ways to monitor patients safely now include re-engineered personal protection suits and easy-to-assemble chambers to decontaminate health workers.
The wearable has been developed by Dr. Steven Steinhubl at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and is listed as one of a number of "wearable technologies" in development.
"The new approach will provide unprecedented visibility into a patient's physiology that we believe will be invaluable in improving care and minimising risk of exposure during an Ebola virus outbreak," Dr. Steinhubl, said in a statement. "This will open the door to being able to identify warning signs very early on, when potentially lifesaving care can be provided."