WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute researchers have been working on a first-of-its-kind sensor which will allow infants at risk of lung disease to leave hospitals sooner and be accurately monitored at home.

The research was recently boosted by a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The four-year project will eventually help create a convenient, affordable and noninvasive sensor roughly the size of a bandage. The technology will also help address racial bias in health care by monitoring oxygen levels two different ways and correcting the measurements to account for variations in skin color.

Ulkuhan Guler, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI and the lead researcher for the project, said it is exciting to be embarking on this multi-year journey with plenty of money to help get the job done.

“People will just wear these devices, and then they live their normal life,” Guler said. “At the same time, the health parameters will be measured and collected and stored to transmit it to the health care provider. This is going to change the whole way of medicine done today, where you need to go to a hospital or a clinic to give a blood sample, and get your values interpreted by the doctor.”  

Guler and her research team have managed to raise more than $2.5 million for the project. They hope once their research is complete, it will be patented so WPI can collaborate with a pharmaceutical company to translate the research into a product.