Wearable technologies from Michigan aim to monitor health in new ways

Sep 4, 2014

Credit User: Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering / Flickr

Imagine being able to wear a small sensor just like a bandage – you don't even know it's there.

That little sensor can detect vapors from your body that could be from anemia, diabetes, or lung disease.

The breakthrough is coming from a team of researchers at the University of Michigan.

Sherman Fan is a professor of biomedical engineering at the university.

Fan says the device is not the same as other wearable technologies like Google Glass, the Apple iWatch, or the FitBit, which conduct blood pressure measurement.

“In our case, we’re measuring vapors, which is a chemical measurement,” says Fan.

Fan says the team is using a microgas chromatography technology in combination with graphic technology to make the device work.

Besides testing for health issues, the sensor can also be used to test air quality and detect any toxic material substance in the surrounding environment. There are different applications possible.

“For soldiers, usually they carry very heavy equipment, and anything light will be very useful for them,” says Fan.