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Proof of Concept: Pressure Sensor for Tracking of Infant-Mother Kangaroo Care Durations

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael Weber, Abigail Clarke-Sather

University of Minnesota – Duluth, Duluth, MN

Paper No. DMD2019-3311, pp. V001T05A002; 6 pages
  • 2019 Design of Medical Devices Conference
  • 2019 Design of Medical Devices Conference
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, April 15–18, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4103-7
  • Copyright © 2019 by ASME


Over the past two decades, there has been more of an emphasis by practitioners for mothers to perform skin-to-skin holding, known as Kangaroo Care (KC) due to the many benefits, such as decreased illness early in life, increased breastmilk production, and decreased chance of long term obesity for mother and child. Kangaroo Care is difficult in the NICU due to the health of the child and mother and numerous leads, IVs or breathing tubes attached to the child. With these problems, it is hard for mothers to follow best practices for performing KC, namely holding for a minimum of one hour and first hold within 24 hours of birth. Not following best practices lessens the benefits of KC for mother and child. Tracking of the duration of KC is often not measured by anyone including hospital staff so whether best practices are followed is difficult to know. Also, mothers may not have clothing that facilitates KC and there are few wearables specifically designed for mothers wanting to perform KC in the NICU. This project focuses on one part of designing a wearable that facilitates mothers performing KC while their child is in the NICU. To understand the effectiveness of said wearable, measuring how long the mothers are performing KC is needed. To accomplish this, a pressure sensor, incorporating Carbon Nanotube Fabric (CNT), was constructed to measure changes in pressure to track the number and duration of KC holds. As for the sensor, when a pressure is first applied or removed, the resistance changes rapidly but remains relatively constant with constant pressure. The average time difference between manually recording time and the sensor measurement was 4.06 seconds for a single event, such as applying a pressure to the sensor, and 6.66 seconds for a double event, such as the duration between when the pressure was applied to when it was removed. These results show that the sensor is accurate enough to measure the duration of KC for any period of time it is performed.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME



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