Researchers have created a dedicated blood oxygen sensor by combining a new oxygen-sensitive film and machine learning.
The new wearable sensor measures tissue oxygenation through the skin. The device can be used to continuously monitor the oxygen level in the human body for medical and sports applications.
The wireless device is very easy to operate and the data is transmitted wirelessly. The authors of the development note that it will be especially useful for remote monitoring of oxygen levels outside of medical facilities.
The device consists of a body (3D printed) of a small sensor head and an adhesive film for measuring oxygen. Electronic components process the data from the sensor and allow the device to send records via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
The scientists used machine learning to make the system accurately measure oxygen levels under various conditions. This approach also allowed the researchers to account for photobleaching, the tendency of light-excited materials to gradually lose their ability to emit light.
The researchers tested the device by attaching it to the forelimb of a Yorkshire pig. When a tourniquet was applied to the elbow joint, the sensor detected a drop in oxygen (due to decreased blood flow). The measurements were in excellent agreement with those of the commercial reference sensor. However, they did not depend on changes in temperature, humidity, or other environmental factors. According to the authors of the development, this makes the sensor practical for use outside the laboratory.