Injectable Sensors Revolutionize Animal Health Monitoring

image of dog infronn of a monitor signal

North Carolina State University researchers have revealed injectable sensors in a pioneering development that has the potential to transform animal health and activity monitoring.

The innovative technology, outlined in a recent study published in IEEE Sensors Journal, has opened up numerous possibilities for pet owners, farmers, vets, and researchers.

Traditionally, microchipping has been the go-to method for identifying pets and working animals. However, these tiny chips have been limited to carrying identification numbers.

The new injectable sensors, developed by a team led by Alper Bozkurt, take things several steps further. They are capable of tracking an animal’s location if it goes missing and providing real-time data on vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate, movement, and temperature.

The beauty of these injectable sensors lies in their simplicity and effectiveness. Using off-the-shelf materials, the researchers have created what they describe as “the most advanced multimodal and minimally invasive injectable sensor system for animals.”

This system is encapsulated in a rice-grain cylinder and injected like a microchip under the animal’s skin. However, instead of using an ID number, it wirelessly transmits valuable health data to a remote receiver.

The versatility of these sensors is truly impressive. Equipped with multiple physiological sensors, circuits, a microcontroller, and a rechargeable battery, they can accurately monitor various vital signs.

Cellrocardiography sensors track heart rate, while an inertial measurement unit captures movement and breathing rate.

Additionally, thermometry provides temperature readings, with plans to incorporate blood pressure and oxygen saturation tracking in future iterations.

Despite their advanced capabilities, the injectable sensors are designed to be minimally invasive.

They are small enough to fit into a 6-gauge surgical needle, making the insertion process straightforward and relatively painless for the animal.

Moreover, the researchers have developed a smaller, battery-free system version, further enhancing its compatibility and usability.

One of the most exciting aspects of this technology is its wide range of potential applications. Farmers, for example, could use sensors to monitor the health of livestock, identifying issues such as pain or disease before they escalate.

Veterinary researchers could track endangered species without the need for invasive surgeries. Even pet owners stand to benefit, with the sensors providing valuable insights into their furry friends’ well-being.

Looking ahead, the researchers are focused on commercializing their technology and making it more accessible to end-users.

They aim to shrink the injectable system down to the size of traditional microchips used for animals, ensuring compatibility with existing infrastructure and procedures.

Already, there is significant interest from industry stakeholders eager to harness the potential of these injectable sensors.

In summary, the development of injectable sensors represents a significant leap forward in animal health monitoring.

With their ability to wirelessly track vital signs and activity patterns, these sensors can potentially improve the lives of pets, working animals, and livestock.

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