Coming Soon: Asthma Monitoring on the Web
A project by scientists in the United States and India may soon produce an inexpensive Web-enabled device that will allow asthma monitoring on the Internet.
The device that would measure lung function in patients with asthma and other disorders is being developed by the U.S. electronics company Texas Instruments Inc. at its Bangalore, India, facility.
The device will allow physicians to monitor their patients remotely and quickly instigate medical attention in an emergency.
Spirometers are commonly used to measure lung capacity and the response of breathing during therapy, the scientists said. But use of spirometers is limited in the developing world because of their cost and a lack of healthcare workers trained to use them.
In the new study, Texas Instruments researcher N.C.S. Ramachandran and Professor Vivek Agarwal of the Indian Institute of Technology are developing an inexpensive, portable and easy-to-operate spirometer that can be quickly coupled to an Internet connection through built-in Web and data encryption software.
The new spirometer is based on a microelectromechanical system.
"Not only can the remotely located patient consult a specialist," the researchers said, the device will help the specialist "instruct the patient for specific test procedures and treatment."