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Swallowable Sensor Measures Heart Rate, Breathing

The technology is expected to be useful with long-term evaluation of patients

Forget a pill, what would happen if your doctor asked you to swallow a sensor?

It may sound like a scene from a spy movie, but it's a new way for doctors to be able to measure heart rate and breathing rate from within the gastrointestinal tract.

Using technology invented at MIT, the "sensor calculates heart and breathing rates from the distinctive sound waves produced by the beating of the heart and the inhalation and exhalation of the lungs," according to MIT News.

A device like this could be especially helpful to long-term evaluation of patients, as well as with trauma patients.

“Through characterization of the acoustic wave, recorded from different parts of the GI tract, we found that we could measure both heart rate and respiratory rate with good accuracy,” explained Giovanni Traverso, a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and one of the lead authors of a paper describing the device in the Nov. 18 issue of the journal PLOS One.

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