When rescuing avalanche victims or other people in cold, snowy outdoor conditions, it can be difficult to monitor their vital signs via traditional means. The MedSENS device was created with that fact in mind, as it simply goes in the ear and gets strapped to the head.
Designed by a team from Italy’s Eurac Research center, MedSENS consists of two linked components – there’s an earplug-shaped wired probe that is inserted into the ear canal, and an outer pad which is placed over the ear and held in place with a head strap.
Once inserted, the probe proceeds to measure the patient’s body temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation. That data is displayed in real time on an OLED screen on the pad, plus it can be wirelessly transmitted to the rescuers’ mobile devices.
And not only does the pad show the readings, but by forming an insulated seal around the ear, it also prevents the probe from being affected by cold ambient temperatures.
The technology has already been tested on 40 volunteers in Italy’s terraXcube extreme environment simulator, at temperatures ranging from -10 to 20 ºC (14 to 68 ºF). Its data was found to fall in line with that obtained by a traditionally used esophageal probe, which would be considerably more difficult to administer in frigid outdoor conditions.
The development team is now looking for industry partners who might be interested in commercializing the device. It’s demonstrated in the video below.
MedSENS: Patented device to measure temperature and other vital parameters from the ear canal
Source: Eurac Research