Wearable, wireless COVID-19 symptom tracker could help spot subtle signs of disease

Photo credit Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Researchers at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago have developed a wearable smart device they hope will detect signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The smart device is about the size of a postage stamp and is worn on the outside of a person’s throat. It will monitor coughing intensity and patterns in breathing, respiratory sounds, heart rate, and body temperature including fever.

Researchers say the data is then uploaded wirelessly to a secure cloud-computing system where it is analyzed by artificial intelligence and algorithms.

“We anticipate that the advanced algorithms we are developing will extract COVID-like signs and symptoms from the raw data insights even before individuals may perceive them,” said Arun Jayaraman, a research scientist at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, who is leading the algorithm development. “These sensors have the potential to unlock information that will protect frontline medical workers and patients alike — informing interventions in a timely manner to reduce the risk of transmission and increase the likelihood of better outcomes.”

The device is still in its trial stage and not widely available yet. It is not known if it will be available in Louisiana. The device is being tested on a select few COVID-19 patients and their healthcare supporters.

Read more about the device and research here.

This groundbreaking device, still in the exploratory stages, makes many wonder what new twists and turns life will take as people around the world try to reemerge after the coronavirus crisis.

Will the new normal include strapping device to our necks so that we can go to bars, restaurants and concerts? Only time will tell.