Infants that experience injury or that have hydrocephalus may have swelling or fluid build-up, which can result in a high intracranial pressure (ICP). Because there are serious, life-long consequences that may result, monitoring the ICP may help doctors monitor infants, diagnose hydrocephalus, and help decide when to take interventional measures. The only methods in existence for measuring the ICP are either invasive or not very accurate, but a team of students at Rice University, that worked with people from the Texas Children’s Hospital, believes that they have come up with a prototype device that is both accurate and non-invasive.
The Bend-Aid, as the team calls it, is a flexible device that resembles a bandage with a pair of wires coming out. It is placed over the anterior fontanelle, the soft spot between skull bones that infants exhibit, where it can stay for up to a week. The device continuously monitors the pressure at the fontanelle, something that would normally be done manually, infrequently, and with not particularly accurate results.
The sensor consists of a ribbon that can detect how it is flexed. The higher the intracranial pressure, the more the fontanelle pushes on the sensor and distorts its shape. Slight changes can be detected and a fairly simple algorithm converts the flexion of the sensor into how far the fontanelle is being pushed out, and in turn into the intracranial pressure.
Here is a video with the Rice students showing off their sensor:
Via: Rice University…