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A novel approach is presented for non-constrictive long-term-monitoring of respiration which could particularly become suitable for home care applications. The system is based on textile integrated force sensors which detect expansion of the thorax during respiration and allow wireless data transmission for maximum mobility. Possible applications include long-term monitoring of patients with chronic pulmonary diseases, early recognition of diseases and the performance measurement of athletes during exercise. Results from performance tests under various conditions are presented. The tests show a high correlation with measurements made with a flow meter as gold standard, allowing conclusions about the respiratory volume. Different respiration patterns are reliably detected and can easily be subdivided even during intensive motion of the person. The sensors' textile buildup may allow a future integration into clothing and thus a minimal constriction for the patient. Nevertheless, the respiratory volume estimations are still not accurate enough mainly because of the use of a simplified volume calculation model and the disregard of the abdominal volume changes.
Date of Publication: May 2011