If you have seen or know someone who is recovering from having suffered a stroke, you know that speech impediments is one of the signs and that this is also something they’ll need to overcome with time. Now thanks to work being done by engineers at Northwestern University (via Engadget), they have created a wearable sensor for the throat that can help monitor the rehabilitation process.

The sensor is stretchable and will stick directly onto the skin. This makes it small and portable enough for patients to be able to wear it outside of the hospital. According to engineering professor John A. Rogers, “Stretchable electronics allow us to see what is going on inside patients’ bodies at a level traditional wearables simply cannot achieve. The key is to make them as integrated as possible with the human body.”

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It will help measure certain biometrics of the patient, such as heart function, quality of sleep, and muscle activity in the throat. This will also help doctors diagnose and treat issues such as aphasia which is a communication disorder that is typically associated with stroke. Prior to this, the tools typically used by speech-language pathologists cannot distinguish between voice and ambient noise, but the sensor can.

According to Rogers, this is done by measuring the vibrations of the vocal cords. The fact that the sensor is also wireless means that it can allow for information to be gathered in non-hospital settings, such as at home where the patient might feel more relaxed. Note that the sensor isn’t actually meant to “heal” patients who have suffered from a stroke, but hopefully it will help speed up the progress of their recovery.

Filed in Medical. Read more about Health and Wearable Tech.

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