New wearable technology could help doctors track patient health

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Inside the engineering building at Michigan State, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Mi Zhang is helping develop new wearable technology, known as “HeadScan.”

“It actually tracks four main behaviors: eating, drinking, coughing, as well as speaking,” Zhang said.

Zhang says unlike other intrusive devices which rely on audio, theirs doesn’t track what you talk about.

“It actually only tracks your mouth movements when you are eating and drinking and speaking,” Zhang said.

Those movements could help doctors monitor patients with everything from dietary problems to mental health issues.

You simply put a transmitter “on the right side of your shoulder, and (the receiver) on the other side of your head,” Zhang said.

Using wireless radio signals between antennas, doctors can monitor movement of a patient’s head.

“In the future it can be in the form of a button on your shirt or on your collar,” Zhang said.

“People will be willing to wear that because it’s small and probably will be cool,” PhD student Biyi Fang said.

Above all, Zhang says privacy is key, and the “HeadScan” will be a vital tool to passively collect information that doctors can use to better serve their patients.

Zhang and his team continue to test the “HeadScan” device and hope to bring the product to market in a couple years.

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