Chronic respiratory conditions affect over 1 billion people in the world, but unfortunately they are sub-optimally managed, and even diagnosed, because the incidence is so high that there are no sufficient resources to offer to all patients. Examples of conditions for which this happens include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and sleep apnoea.
One of the focus areas of the wearable technologies lab is to carry out state-of-the-art research leading to speeding up diagnosis of these respiratory conditions and, once they are diagnosed, improving the way these are managed. Our targets include: to improve the long term prognosis of these diseases; to reduce their financial, as well as personal burdens in societies; and most importantly to improve the quality of life of those who suffer from them.
More specifically, our research focuses on:
- Creating sensors that can continuously detect physiological signals, non-intrusively, continuously and without negatively influencing the patients’ normal life;
- Developing algorithms that can extract clinically relevant parameters from the signals measured with those sensors, automatically, reliably and in real time;
- Finding algorithms in which the automatically extracted parameters can be meaningfully combined to facilitate the diagnosis/management of the conditions without requiring medical input- or if any is needed this is minimum and can be provided remotely;
- Creating novel ultra-low power hardware so that everything can be put together as a very small device with batteries that will last for a long periods of time. This in some cases also results on having to carry out integrated circuit research because a customized implementation is needed;
- Designing an overall wearable technology that: is “cool”, anyone from any educational level is able to use and handle; is clinically reliable in terms of signal interpretation, and when relevant diagnosis; and is able to wirelessly transmit meaningful information to the cloud so that both patients and doctors can access it from anywhere in the world.