The term sensor is usually used for small devices that are used to measure variables like pressure, temperature, humidity, etc., and convert these measurement or information into signals that can be analysed. Sensors are usually classified into mechanical, electrochemical, thermal, optical, bio, magnetic, and semiconductor.
Sensors used in medical devices and equipment can detect various types of stimuli and convert them into electrical signals. Biomedical sensors measure parameters that are medically relevant, such as temperature and blood pressure. A few example of biomedical sensors are ultrasound sensors, chemical analysis sensors, fluid flow sensors, blood glucose sensors, ECG sensors, motion sensors, wearable biomedical sensors, and wireless biomedical sensors.
Increasing population, especially the rising aging population is fuelling the development of biomedical sensors, as these devices have huge potential for improving patient care and health outcomes. These sensors can also increase the accessibility to healthcare, as it is now possible to make miniature wireless biomedical sensors to facilitate e-healthcare.
Devices with embedded biomedical sensors have empowered patients to monitor their health conditions from the comforts of their homes. They can share their health data with doctors to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, etc. This is known as remote patient monitoring, which can play a crucial role in preventing complications associated with chronic health conditions.
For example, a biomedical sensor placed underneath the skin of a diabetic patient can monitor the blood sugar levels continuously and also send the data to a smartphone or other device. So, the patient can manage his/her glucose levels more efficiently and prevent any sudden rise or fall in the blood sugar levels.
Biomedical sensors can make diagnosis more accurate and precise. The technology can also transform the way patients are monitored in hospitals. These sensors can measure and collect physiological information in a non-invasive manner and then send them to physicians. So, physicians can monitor their patients constantly without any requirement to come to check the vital signs of each and every patient. This, in turn, can improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes.
These sensors can also ensure timely medical intervention by immediately informing nurses and doctors in the event of a medical emergency. Further, biomedical sensors can improve prosthetics by making them easier to use and control. Presently, prosthetic developers are trying to make smart prosthetics with the help of embedded sensors. They are currently working on prosthetics that will be able to work with the human neural pathways so that they can be moved and controlled by the brain just like biological body parts.
So, biomedical sensors and sensor-based medical devices are going to transform the way healthcare is delivered. It can radically improve the quality of healthcare, improve health outcomes, and cut down the costs of healthcare.