USoP or Ultrasonic System-on-Patch are wearable patches with integrated electronic sensors. These autonomous wearable patches allow continuous tracking of physiological signals when worn on the body. They use ultrasonic methods to measure signals from tissues as deep as 164 mm inside the body. For instance, they can continuously monitor physiological signals like cardiac output, heart rate, and blood pressure for up to 12 hours at a time.
Developed by a team at the University of California at San Diego, these fully integrated wearable patches can monitor deep tissues using ultrasonic systems, especially for subjects on the go. The team has developed the technology for potentially life-saving cardiovascular monitoring. USoP is a major breakthrough for the team from one of the world’s leading ultrasonic wearable labs.
Giving a complex solution to the world of wearables with ultrasonic technology, the project not only has a wearable sensor but also has control electronics within the wearable form factor. This is a truly wearable device that can sense vital signals from deep tissues without the use of wires.
The USoP or ultrasonic system-on-patch is a fully integrated autonomous wearable that the lab has built on its previous work in soft ultrasonic sensor design. While all their earlier soft ultrasonic sensors required tethering cables for power and data transmissions, the USoP has a small and flexible control circuit for communicating with the ultrasonic transducer array, for collecting and transmitting data wirelessly. For tracking subjects in motion, it also has a machine-learning component that helps it to interpret the data.
According to the team, this technology has a huge potential for saving and improving lives. The sensor has the capability to evaluate cardiovascular function even while in motion. It can predict impending heart failure by detecting abnormal values of cardiac output and blood pressure, whether at rest or during exercise. In a healthy population, the device can monitor cardiovascular activity during exercise in real-time and provide insight into the actual workout intensity that each person exerts, thereby guiding the formulation of individual training plans.
The team discovered that their latest invention had more capabilities than they had initially anticipated during its development. Their initial aim was to develop a wireless blood pressure sensor. Later, as they were designing the circuit, the algorithm, and collecting clinical insights, they realized the system was capable of measuring many additional physiological parameters besides blood pressure, including arterial stiffness, cardiac output, expiratory volume, and much more. These additional parameters are essential for in-hospital monitoring or daily health care.
While moving forward, the team has plans for testing the sensor among a larger population. At present, they are in the process of working with clinicians from the university—for obtaining IRBs for approval for the clinical trials.
The USoP has considerable advantages over conventional ultrasonic machines, which are bulky and wired, and which require an experienced sonographer to perform the maneuvering of manual probes, while the subject must remain immobile. It is possible to train the machine-learning algorithm on one patient and apply it to many others, with minimal retraining.