NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Engineers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick have created a smart wristband with a wireless connection to smartphones that can count blood cells. Their work was published online recently in Microsystems & Nanoengineering. The technology could be added to watches and other wearable devices that monitor heart rates and physical activities, the engineers wrote in the published article. “It’s like a Fitbit but has a biosensor that can count particles, so that includes blood cells, bacteria and organic or inorganic particles in the air,” wrote Mehdi Javanmard, senior author of the study. “The ability for a wearable device to monitor the counts of different cells in our bloodstream would take personal health monitoring to the next level.” The plastic wristband includes a flexible circuit board and a biosensor with a channel thinner than the diameter of a human hair with gold electrodes embedded inside. It has a circuit to process electrical signals, a micro-controller for digitizing data and a Bluetooth module to transmit data wirelessly. Blood samples are obtained through pinpricks, with the blood fed through the channel and blood cells counted. The data is sent wirelessly to a smartphone with an app that processes and displays data. In the field, health professionals could get rapid blood test results from patients without the need for lab-based equipment, the engineers wrote.
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