There are a number of health-related applications that benefit from periodic or constant monitoring of core body temperature. Currently conventional techniques for measuring internal body temperature are either invasive or unreliable. The invasive measurement also include complex procedures such as surgery or time consuming procedures such as gastro-intestinal sensors. Non-invasive methods such as zero-heat-flux exist, but it is generally accepted that no non-invasive methods are considered accepted for diagnosing heat-related illnesses. The external temperature of the human body can differ from internal body temperature by as much as 2.5 K°/C°, and can vary during the day in relation to for example eating and exercise.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a novel 1.4-GHz microwave radiometer for non-invasive measurements of internal (core) body temperature. This development shows a path towards a portable, wearable thermometer that can continuously measure for sub-surface body temperature with a resolution of a fraction of a degree Kelvin. The sensor includes a probe and a radiometer, the probe is designed to be placed on a skin site and be operable to receive near-field radiation at the skin site. A remote receiver converts the detected total power to an internal tissue temperature measurement by applying the detected power to a tissue stack model.
The advantages of this technology is the ability to get reliable internal body temperatures without invasive procedures. The continuous measurements eliminates the risk of misinterpreting periodic temperature measurement that may be affected by factors like eating and exercising. The method also provide real time temperature tracking that can help medical personnel react immediately to critical temperature changes in patients. This technology provides a cheaper and more accessible way to measure internal body temperatures in patients.
This has potential applications for:
- Osteopathy: Detect brain heating during heavy training done by soldiers or athletes.
- Oncology: Track temperature increases induced by inflammation in cancer cells.
- Pediatrics: Track brain temperature in infants to detect hypoxia-ischemia.
- Fire Responder Safety: Detect risk of heat stroke in high temperature environment.
- Pulmonology & Neurology: Detect sleeping disorders by tracking changes in the circadian cycle which are related to changes in phase and amplitude of periodic core body temperature variations.
The inventor team is seeking funding to create a consumer-facing prototype, partners interested in bringing this invention to market through a spinoff company, or licensing the technology to established industry partners.