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VR Interfaces: HYPER-IMS


Overview of HYPER-IMS
If a person's blood flows through their arteries at too high a pressure, even when they are lying still on the sofa, they could be in danger. High blood pressure causes the heart to constantly pump at full speed, which strains both the heart and vessel walls. Drugs can provide relief, but in many cases the patient's blood pressure is still difficult to regulate and has to be consistently monitored over a long period of time.

The Hyper IMS system is a prosthetic implant designed to track and monitor a person's blood pressure in real time. Designed to reduce the need for continual doctor visits, unnecessary drugs and stress, the prosthetic organ is implanted directly into the femoral artery in the groin. There, it monitors blood pressure thirty times a minute.

The prosthetic is incredibly tiny: The bit that is inserted into the artery, is just one millimetre wide. This includes the power module. In the image above, it is laying across an adult human index finger. A micro-cable, just a tenth as wide as the unit, leads out of the artery to the rest of the prosthetic: a simple passive RFID transponder, unpowered, which sits under the skin, also in the groin.

An external reader, no larger than a mobile phone, sits in the patient's pocket, and checks in with the implant on a regular basis, 'pinging' the RFID transponder twenty to thirty times per minute. These radio frequency connections supply the transponder with power, and through it, the sensor. The transponder transmits the readings back, until it runs out of power or the next RF 'ping' occurs.

The external reader that is the size of a mobile phone, is also a mobile phone, albeit a specialised one. It can dial one number and one number only. Once a day, or immediately if the readings spike, it contacts a centralised monitoring station, which then forwards the data directly to the patient's doctor.

Still under development, the system is being developed by Fraunhofer researchers together with the company Dr. Osypka GmbH and other partners in a BMBF-funded project called "Hyper-IMS" (Intravascular Monitoring System for Hypertension Patients).

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