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Low-Power Processor Enables Disposable Wireless Vital-Signs Monitor

A bandage-sized vital-signs monitor powered by a printed battery

3 min read

6 February 2008—Hospitals, home patients, the elderly, and even top athletes could benefit from a new disposable wireless electronic patch designed to monitor vital signs, according to researchers at Toumaz Technology. Monday, at the IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference, in San Francisco, Toumaz engineers described an ultralow-power system-on-chip (SOC) that runs a wireless body-area network capable of sensing temperature, heart rate, respiration, electrocardiogram (ECG) signals, and other vital signs.

There are other wireless vital-signs monitors, says Alison Burdett, director of technology at Toumaz, in Abingdon, England, and a member of the Sensium development team. None of the others, however, fit in an ultrathin patch, are cheap enough to be disposable, and consume as little power as Sensium does. ”We aren’t claiming a new paradigm,” she says. ”But existing systems are generally quite expensive and bulky, and they need reasonable batteries. In that respect, our system is state-of-the-art.”

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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