Whispers AF Detect

Wireless Health Instrumentation via Self-Powered Energy-efficient Remote Sensors
Budget TRC: 500 000 €

Atrial fibrillation is the most common of all cardiac arrhythmia, affecting up to 140 million people worldwide. The disease can cause severe consequences if it causes a blood clot to form in the left atrium of the heart. In the worst case, this results in brain artery blockage and a stroke: it is estimated that at least every sixth stroke is due to atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation tends to recur, due to which it requires either surgical or medical treatment.

Today electrocardiography (ECG) is the primary method for diagnosing heart diseases, requiring laboratory conditions and specialized monitoring equipment including a number of electrodes attached to the chest around the heart.

At Technology Research Center, University of Turku, Finland, new cost-effective methods for diagnosing silent atrial fibrillation, which occurs only periodically and irregularly, are being developed. New monitoring methods would enable miniature, low-cost devices that could be integrated into a medical bandage, or even clothes. Such miniature monitoring devices could be distributed in the masses, e.g. to an entire age group within a given population.

In the future, a smart medical bandage will be capable of detecting atrial fibrillation and transmitting measurement results wirelessly for further expert analysis. The monitoring device shall be based upon emerging techniques for measuring cardiac activity combining realtime monitoring and instant data analysis into a single miniature, low-power microchip.

Current research activities comprise two main projects: WHISPERS-AF-DETECT, in which breakthrough methods for detecting atrial fibrillation are studied and commercialisation of enabling monitoring technology is prepared, and WHISPERS-SoC focusing on the development of custom IC components to serve as a platform for future miniature cardiac monitoring devices.