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A portable, non-invasive and easy to operate wireless system has been developed for monitoring the breathing activity of patient. The system is composed of a capacitive microsensor (airflow-humidity sensor) integrated on a silicon chip and of a Negative Temperature Coefficient thermistor; both are connected to a wireless network to allow efficient healthcare at home as well as in hospitals. The capacitive sensitive part of the microsensor is an array of interdigitated metallic electrodes covered by 100-nm-thick dense anodized aluminum oxide layer. The breath water vapor is adsorbed over the interdigitated electrodes and changes the sensor characteristic capacitance by up to two orders of magnitude. This modulated signal is then digitized and either stored in a memory or directly transmitted to a monitor through a short distance radio frequency (RF) link. Results show that the wireless platform can be powered by two AAA batteries and deployed in a mesh or star configuration as wireless sensor network. Full size of the microsensor is less than 1 cm2 and is conveniently implemented in a classical adhesive bandage or in nasal prongs. This microsystem is proposed for monitoring sleep-disordered breathing as well as breathing rhythm of athletes during effort.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2010