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This Throat Sensor Can Help You Recover From a Stroke

February 19, 2018

After a stroke, the ability to speak and swallow are frequent signs of how well you are coping, and doing so can be extremely difficult. It can be hard for microphones to distinguish between the patient and ambient sounds, and for sensors to hold up to the rigors out life outside of the hospital.

Scientists at Northwestern University have designed a wearable throat sensor that helps diagnose and treat a communication disorder typically associated with strokes, called aphasia. The device tracks the vibration of vocal cords in order to gauge ones recovery and determine whether or not doctors are needed to intervene.

The sensor is more comfortable and durable than a mic in addition to it being a more accurate form of measurement. Thanks to a set of “novel materials”, the device can bend and stretch so it is not irritating or able to break under stress.

“The key is to make them as integrated as possible with the human body,” said John A. Rodgers, an engineering professor at Northwestern University.

The data is presented in a dashboard that is easy for both patients and clinicians to understand. Doctors are able to see how patients speak and swallow in real life and not just in the controlled conditions of a hospital room. It will also alert when patients are underperforming in a certain metric and allow for them to set and track progress toward their goals.
This groundbreaking device is said to be a game-changer in the field of stroke rehabilitation.