Source: Shichao Yue for MIT CSAIL
Source: Shichao Yue for MIT CSAIL

Researchers MIT developed a wireless health sensor that has allowed doctors to monitor COVID-19 positive patients who are quarantined in their homes. Emerald, as the team of faculty and students from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) calls it, was installed in a patient’s home and sent data about their condition, including heart rate, breathing and walking speed. According to Dr. Ipsit Vahia, data sent by Emerald revealed how the patient’s condition improved over time.


“When doctors have to interact directly with patients to conduct exams or monitor vital signs, each step along the way represents an increased risk that they will get infected. Given how Emerald can generate important health data without any patient contact, it could minimize the risk that doctors and nurses will catch the disease from their patients,” Dr. Vahia said. Dr. Vahia is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Emerald analyzes wireless signals in the environment and uses artificial intelligence to detect and monitor signals coming from humans.  The device has proven helpful for remotely monitoring home-quarantined COVID-19 patients, but it was originally intended to monitor and analyze sleep patterns and disorders that affect sleep. The CSAIL team has already deployed Emerald devices in 200 homes, but welcomes interest from doctors and researchers who want to use the device for clinical trials.


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