Non-contact and body-worn sensor technology for applications in medical technology and care support
© Fraunhofer IMS
Non-contact and body-worn sensor technology for applications in medical technology and care support

Non-invasive HealthCare

The Fraunhofer IMS develops non-contact and body-worn sensor technology for applications in medical technology and care support

Non-invasive HealthCare

Non-invasive Healthcare with Embedded AI for local, energy-saving and self-learning analysis of e.g., ECG data
© Fraunhofer IMS
Non-invasive Healthcare with Embedded AI for local, energy-saving and self-learning analysis of e.g., ECG data

Within the scope of the application field of Non-invasive Healthcare, the Fraunhofer IMS is developing smart sensor assistance systems that record vital parameters without contact or close to the body and evaluate them directly. Vital signs such as heart and respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure are important indicators of a person's state of health. Without these vital functions, life is not possible. A malfunction can result in serious illness. Early detection and treatment of common diseases such as stroke, hypertension, pain and fatigue are the goal of our research and development work

Until now, medical technology solutions for close-meshed monitoring have only been available directly on the patient, stationary with complex cabling, or do not allow continuous recording and direct processing, such as with a long-term ECG. These solutions are usually uncomfortable and disruptive for the patient and can cause skin damage, especially to sensitive skin, such as in neonates and the elderly. The data in these systems are usually evaluated only after the fact, which can have fatal consequences for high-risk patients and lead to consequential damage. Continuous data evaluation on a server would require a permanent Internet connection as well as encrypted transmission and archiving protocols for personal health data.

In the field of nursing, demographic change in society and the now undisputed shortage of nursing staff will inevitably lead to the use of technical solutions in order to still be able to cope with the social task of nursing. An important aspect of such complex technology solutions is their usability by the user and the associated acceptance for their use. Of central importance for such assistance systems is therefore the interface to the human being, which ideally allows intuitive operation even by untrained users and automated documentation.

In the aforementioned applications, numerous sensor data are usually collected, processed and evaluated. This can generate extensive amounts of data for which there is insufficient transmission bandwidth to a cloud application or for which a long latency period until evaluation is not permissible. In such cases, there is the possibility of using algorithms that insist on artificial intelligence (Embedded KI), e.g. with neural networks, to implement complex data processing and evaluation directly at the point of collection. This does not necessarily require complex hardware with high computing power; a small energy-efficient microcontroller is sufficient in many use cases. In some cases, special AI hardware accelerators are needed so that the algorithms can work even faster and more efficiently.

Non-invasive Healthcare by means of optical contactless vital parameter measurement
© Fraunhofer IMS
Non-invasive Healthcare by means of optical contactless vital parameter measurement

One solution is optical contactless vital parameter measurement. The Fraunhofer IMS is researching within the application field of Non-invasive Healthcare the most accurate and fastest possible detection of these vital parameters in different wavelength ranges and quantifies them using machine learning methods. Our novel approach to non-contact measurement uses camera-based photoplethysmography (PPG). The physical basis of this technique is the different absorption or reflection spectra of human skin. By measuring and analyzing the time course of color, spectral and temperature values of the human skin, various vital parameters can be determined. For example, heart rate can be measured using color image analysis and extraction and filtering of PPG signals. Through in-depth analysis of RGB (red, green, blue) PPG signals, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation can also be determined without contact.

Smart Patches
© Fraunhofer IMS
Smart Patches mit Embedded KI zur lokalen Analyse von Vitalparametern

Furthermore, the Fraunhofer IMS is working within the application field of Non-invasive Healthcare on the next generation of sensors close to the body, so-called smart patches , which can be worn comfortably. The analysis is performed directly on the patch by means of integrated artificial intelligence. Local processing with sufficient detection quality is not yet possible with conventional signal processing, since digital filters in particular require a high computing capacity. This is accompanied by a large size, high weight, high energy consumption, low battery life and increased costs. A solution is provided by local artificial intelligence (Embedded AI) which performs analysis directly on the patch and is resource-efficient. For integration into battery-powered devices in long-term use, processing must be handled on resource-limited hardware. Special AI hardware accelerators are needed to make the algorithms work even faster and more efficiently.

When brainstorming, designing and developing sensor assistance systems, the Fraunhofer IMS has the option of using components that are already available as well as developing new components based on IMS technologies and integrating them into a complex system to offer solutions from a single source. These IMS technologies include special sensors, customized electronic components, radio systems und Embedded Systems (hardware and software).

Healthcare Funksysteme
© Fraunhofer IMS
Healthcare Funksysteme
CE-certified  EQUiVert System for professional dizziness therapy
© GED Gesellschaft für Elektronik und Design mbH
CE-certified EQUiVert System for professional dizziness therapy

Together with the customers we bring - if required - the develop up to CE-certification. A successful example of an approved medical device is the electronic assistance system EQUIVert which was developed especially for patients with dizziness symptoms, in order to support the physician in the dizziness diagnosis and therapy finding and to relieve him in the dizziness therapy of the patients, as well as to enable the patient an independent regular training.



In the Living Lab of the Fraunhofer-inHaus-Center with its hospital engineering and intelligent care room, the novel electronic assistance systems can be evaluated under realistic conditions, optimized and thus best tailored to the application and the market.

Hospital Engineering: Reallabor Umgebung für Erprobung von Nicht-invasiver Healthcare Applikationen
© Fraunhofer IMS
Hospital Engineering: Reallabor Umgebung für Erprobung von Nicht-invasiver Healthcare Applikationen

Our applications - Examples of what we can do for you

Contactless vital signs measurement

Contactless measurement of vital parameters offers a way to measure health parameters quickly, accurately and conveniently

Motion Analysis

The motion analysis allows the detection of anomalies and thus enables, for example, fall prevention.

 

Our fields of application - Our expertise for you

In-situ Diagnostics

We develop smart optical and electrical biosensor systems for diagnostic point-of-care (PoC) applications

Medical Implants

We develop smart medical multisensor implants for closed-loop diagnostics and therapy

 

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