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Wearable Sensor System to Monitor Physical Activity and the Physiological Effects of Heat Exposure.

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Mobile health monitoring via non-invasive wearable sensors is poised to advance telehealth for older adults and other vulnerable populations. Extreme heat and other environmental conditions raise serious health challenges that warrant monitoring of real-time physiological data as people go about their normal activities. Mobile systems could be beneficial for many communities, including elite athletes, military special forces, and at-home geriatric monitoring. While some commercial monitors exist, they are bulky, require reconfiguration, and do not fit seamlessly as a simple wearable device. We designed, prototyped and tested an integrated sensor platform that records heart rate, oxygen saturation, physical activity levels, skin temperature, and galvanic skin response. The device uses a small microcontroller to integrate the measurements and store data directly on the device for up to 48+ h. continuously. The device was compared to clinical standards for calibration and performance benchmarking. We found that our system compared favorably with clinical measures, such as fingertip pulse oximetry and infrared thermometry, with high accuracy and correlation. Our novel platform would facilitate an individualized approach to care, particularly those whose access to healthcare facilities is limited. The platform also can be used as a research tool to study physiological responses to a variety of environmental conditions, such as extreme heat, and can be customized to incorporate new sensors to explore other lines of inquiry.

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