Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Wearable Device Helps Patients With Swallowing Disorders

A team of researchers at Purdue university have developed a wearable device that will assist in making treatments easier and less expensive for patients experiencing swallowing disorders. The stickers on the sensor are disposable and meant to be used almost a dozen times before being disposed of. This means the device is user friendly, inexpensive, and can be used in the home.



“Our device is unique in that we specifically created it to work well with the small and intricate muscles associated with swallowing events,” says Chi Hwan Lee, Assistant Professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering at Purdue University. “The sensor sticker is stretchable and flexible to work well with the skin and curvilinear head and neck shape, while the connected unit has electronic chips and more rigid components.”


From the Purdue University article: "The researchers created a skin-mountable sensor sticker that attaches firmly to the neck area and is connected with small cables to a wireless transmitter unit.

The skin-mountable sensor sticker measures and records muscle activity and movement associated with swallowing. The information is then sent wirelessly by a separate unit clipped on the wearer’s shirt to software that stores it for later analysis by a doctor.

Successful completion of a swallow requires the precise coordination of more than 30 pairs of muscles of the head and neck, six pairs of cranial nerves, and complex circuitry in the brainstem and several brain areas. Any disruption in these pathways can result in severe swallowing disorders. More than 9 million adults and more than 500,000 children experience severe swallowing disorders each year in the U.S."


Read more about the wearable device that helps patients with swallowing disorders at Purdue University.

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