Designing RFID Tags for Biomedical Applications
When it comes to advances in healthcare, we have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks to anesthesia, patients no longer have to "grit their teeth" during the procedure. Thanks to antibiotics, doctors do not use bloodletting to cure infections. Moving into the more modern era, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems offer a wide range of innovative healthcare applications. However, like any new medical technology, biomedical RFID readers must undergo rigorous performance evaluation and compatibility with other medical systems.
RFID technology is common in many industries. In healthcare, however, there is a major design challenge: size. RFID tags on the smaller end are about the size of a grain of rice, but for cellular-level uses such as research and diagnostics, the design needs to be smaller.
A team of researchers at Stanford University has developed an RFID tag small enough to be implanted in cells, such as skin or cancer cells. The size of the tag is about one-fifth the thickness of human hair. It works with a specialized RFID reader that interprets the data in real-time and monitors the activity of the cells. These tiny RFID tags also have the potential to be linked to sensors for advanced biomedical treatments such as antibody detection and the destruction of cancer cells.
No matter how good the doctor's attitude is at the bedside, patients don't particularly enjoy being poked and prodded for vital signs. At Cornell University, researchers have designed ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID tags that can be used to monitor vital signs, such as heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, without even touching the patient. These tags can fit into hospital wristbands, or even be sewn into clothing, and communicate with RFID readers that monitor multiple people within range at the same time. The system relies on back-end software to manage, interpret and monitor the data. In this way, physicians can gain a clearer picture of each patient's vital signs system performance, medical professionals can save time and effort checking vital signs, and patients can be happier.
Sleep disorders and sleep apnea are areas of biomedicine that are often untreated. Although they cause myriad health and safety concerns, nighttime sleep tests are expensive and can interfere with patients' schedules, and at-home tests can be difficult to use.
To help in this regard, researchers from RADIO6ENSE, the University of Palermo, and the University of Rome have developed a passive RFID system for remote real-time tracking of sleep patterns. The user-friendly passive RFID system consists of RFID tags sewn onto pajamas, does not require any batteries, and operates on low power, making it safe to use as a wearable device while accurately collecting sleep pattern data.
The above briefly introduces the application of RFID technology in biomedicine. If you want to buy or customize RFID readers or tags, please contact us.
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