We’ve written previously about personal informatics in health care, and have noted that sensing technology and automatic data capture need to get better before personal informatics can become mainstream. Here are some examples of the current state of sensing and automatic capture technology:

Medtronic’s iPro2 system:





This device consists of a probe and a data recording module that monitors blood glucose levels. Medtronic’s press release indicates that, “there is no computer required for setup, patients do not interact with the device, and minimum patient training is required. Patients wear the small, lightweight and watertight device while going about their normal daily activities before returning it to their physicians’ office for evaluation.”

Biomedical Systems’ TruVue ECG monitoring system:

medical product design





From the website: “The patient wears a tiny sensor connected by three electrodes attached to their chest. The sensor continuously digitizes a two channel electrocardiogram and transmits it via wireless link technology to a handheld unit that can be carried by the patient or placed nearby. The handheld unit utilizes cellular communication technology to transmit every beat of the two channel electrocardiogram to secure servers located at our 24 x 7 monitoring center staffed by certified cardiac technicians.”

Masimo’s Rainbow Acoustic Sensor:





Provides continuous and non-invasive respiration rate monitoring. From Masimo’s press release: “We now have an accurate monitor that continuously displays respiratory rate—the neglected vital sign—from a sensor that is unnoticeable to the patient. The digital signal is transmitted to the care giver and serves as an early warning signal of respiratory compromise.”

The Nexense sensor platform:

The Nexense platform is a technology available for license that can be used in a variety of applications. From the Nexense website: Nexense® DDM is designed for enabling the development of new generation sensing and the enhancement of existing sensor applications by using direct, highly accurate and non-invasive technology for measurement of various physical parameters.

One application of the Nexense platform is a sensing pad that is placed under a mattress and can sense heartbeat, movement and breathing patterns. Another enables monitoring of blood glucose levels non-invasively through the skin.

There are other interesting advances in non-invasive sensing that will be coming on-line in the near term. This will be an exciting area to watch and will provide a lot of opportunity for companies to employ personal informatics in health care.