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Pitt and INSA Lyon Joint Paper Wins Best Student Paper Award at BIODEVICES 2018

PITTSBURGH (January 31, 2018) … Recognizing an effort to advance personalized and mobile healthcare, a joint paper by engineers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the National Institute of Applied Science of Lyon (INSA Lyon) won the Best Student Paper award at the BIODEVICES 2018 conference.

The paper, “Building IoT-Enabled Wearable Medical Devices: an Application to a Wearable, Multiparametric, Cardiorespirator Sensor,” describes a sensor capable of remotely collecting and processing data about a patient’s electrocardiogram-based activity and monitoring heart rate variability (HRV) in real-time.

“Heart rate is simply the measurement of how many times your heart beats per minute, but heart rate variability measures the time between heart beats. A high HRV is a good sign of cardiovascular health and means your body is adapting well to slow-beating, calm situations as well as fast-beating, intense situations throughout the day,” explained Ervin Sejdić, associate professor with appointments in the Pitt’s departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, and the paper’s co-author.

Joining Dr. Sejdić was lead author Arthur Gatouillat, who studied at Pitt while pursuing his master of science degree in electrical and computer engineering. Gatouillat is now a PhD student at INSA Lyon and continues to collaborate with Dr. Sejdić. Bertrand Massot, Youakim Badr, and Claudine Gehin from INSA Lyon were also co-authors of this work.

The complete sensor system weighs less than an ounce and uses an Android phone to store data locally and transmit it over the internet. Three electrodes attach to the patient’s right arm, left arm, and the center of the chest. The sensor can measure heart rate, HRV, and the respiration waveform, which provides insight into a patient’s breathing patterns.

“We currently plan to use the proposed sensor to investigate gait instabilities in older adults and to understand how we can use the interaction between the cardiovascular system and walking to infer about falls,” said Dr. Sejdić. “However, the proposed sensor can be used for various medical conditions that require monitoring of heart rate variability.”

Other sensor systems that are worn on the wrist indirectly measure vital signs with metrics such as motion data or pulse. The authors’ sensor directly calculates HRV with an electrocardiogram signal (ECG) similar to tests done at a doctor’s office or in a hospital. The remote capabilities of the new sensor help avoid unnecessary hospital trips yet continue to monitor patients in case rapid medical response is required.

“Based on preliminary analysis, it seems that the proposed sensor is very reliable in comparison to well-established monitoring systems,” said Dr. Sejdić. “We plan to conduct more tests to establish the accuracy of the senor, then later introduce more wireless sensors that can monitor gait.”

The BIODEVICES 2018 conference, January 19 – 21, 2018 in Funchal, Portugal, focuses on innovative materials, devices, and systems inspired by biological systems to meet biomedical needs. Decision criteria for paper awards included both the paper quality and an oral presentation at the conference. 


Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Contact: Paul Kovach