Wireless sensors to preserve mother-child bond in the ICU

Skin-to-skin contact with a newborn immediately following birth can impact the mother-child bond for up to a year and may affect brain development. For newborns in the ICU, skin-to-skin contact isn’t possible. Using his expertise in bio-integrated electronics, Dr. Steven Xu developed a device that wirelessly monitors vital signs so mothers can still touch and bond with their child. View Halo Profile >>

Foot sensor on newborn in ICU

Tell us about y our research…

As a physician-engineer, my research centers on the translation of breakthroughs that happen in engineering towards addressing major unmet clinical needs in medicine. My main interest area is the development of novel bio-integrated medical devices that serve as diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for a wide range of medical conditions.

My main interest area is the development of novel bio-integrated medical devices that serve as diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for a wide range of medical conditions.

One area of my work is recapitulating ICU-level monitoring modalities in ultra-thin, soft, wireless, and flexible sensors for neonatal and pediatric intensive care. These systems offer advanced measurement modalities at accuracy levels that meet gold standard systems while minimizing the risk of skin trauma and facilitating skin-to-skin bonding between mother and child.

One area of my work is recapitulating ICU-level monitoring modalities in ultra-thin, soft, wireless, and flexible sensors for neonatal and pediatric intensive care.

Can you explain that to a non-scientist? 

It’s pretty simple. Build technologies that help patients.  I’m most interested in solving problems that affect underserved populations – pediatrics and elderly patients are two key focus areas.

How could it someday impact patient lives?

In the future, medicine and healthcare will be digitized. Nearly invisible, continuous, and wireless sensors will be a big part of this digital revolution – whether the sensors work at home or in the hospital, they will help predict, diagnose, and even treat disease across nearly all aspects of medicine.

In the future, medicine and healthcare will be digitized. Nearly invisible, continuous, and wireless sensors will be a big part of this digital revolution.