Wearables for Neonatal Monitoring

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Funding Support: Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems, IISc. April 29 2015


IISc: Prof. Bharadwaj Amrutur , Prof. Rajesh Sundaresan, Dr. T. V. Prabhakar, Prof. K. J. Vinoy, Hiteshwar Rao, Sagar G. V.
St. Johns Research Institute: Dr. Prem Mony, Dr. Prashanth Thankachan, Dr. Sumam Rao, Sumi Anu


Develop a remote monitoring solution to detect hypothermia in premature infants in low resource settings


Neonatal Mortality Rate is significantly higher in Indian and other developing countries compared to the developed world . Hypothermia has been shown to be the leading indicator of morbidity and mortality . Most rural hospitals and households have limited awareness of this easy to detect condition and the consequences of ignoring it. The fundamental premise for this project is that if we can continuously monitor the premature infants body temperature post-birth, even from non-hospital remote locations and respond as appropriate quickly, the NMR can be brought down. However to validate this premise, a key ingredient is a wireless, connected, thermometer. Since such a device is not commercially available, the main focus of this phase of our project has been to develop such a device, that is acceptable for such long term clinical studies. This entails not only getting the required accuracies, but also ensuring the safety and usability aspects meet the required standards.

System Architecture

The remote monitoring system we are envisioning is shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Remote Health Monitoring System Architecture

The wearable device(s) senses the desired parameters and passes it on to a nearby gateway device. The gateway is connected to the internet and the data is uploaded to the cloud. The hospital staff is alerted upon any anomalies and initiates a response.


The most important parameter to be monitored for a premature infant is the core body temperature.

Figure 2: Wearable Wireless Thermometer

Figure 3: Device on an infant in NICU ward

Figures 2,3 shows our current version of the device [1,2] that is undergoing clinical validation in St. Johns Hospital.

Initial results comparing the accuracy of our device with that of the hospital system are quite encouraging and put the results within +-0.5C (which also happens to be the agreement range for two different hospital instruments too).

The other important parameters of interest for a newborn are the pulse rate and oxygen saturation [3,4]. Figure 4 shows the device and some initial data from a test case where the device was placed on the sole of the baby.

Figure 3: Foot wearable, wireless PPG device

The final device is a wearable ECG – this is not meant for a neonate, but could be used for adults.

Figure 4: Wearable ECG Monitor

The wearable temperature sensor is at the most advanced stage of prototyping and testing and we are currently exploring options for low volume manufacturing so as to enable next phase of clinical testing. The pulse and ECG sensors are in very preliminary stages of testing.


[1] Low power remote neonatal temperature monitoring device, Hiteshwar Rao, Dhruv Saxena, Saurabh Kumar, Sagar G. V., Bharadwaj Amrutur, Prem Mony, Prashanth Thankachan, Kiruba Shankar, Suman Rao, Swarna Rekha Bhat, BIODEVICES 2014, 7th International Conference on Biomedical Electronics and Systems, 3-6 March 2014, Esio, Angers, Loire Valley, France.
[2] Wireless thermometer, Indian Patent Application
[3] Adaptive pulse width control and sampling for pulse oximetry, Sagar G. V., Bharadwaj Amrutur, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, 2015.
[4] Low power pulse oximeter and a method thereof, Sagar G. V., Bharadwaj Amrutur, Indian Patent Application, No. 1979/CHE/2014. PCT