Research Spotlight: An Affordable, Wearable Skin Temperature Monitoring Device for Early Detection of Infections

Dr. Swarup Bhunia, Director of the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently featured in a CNET article about new smartwatch technologies. Dr. Bhunia discussed research of his team on the development of an affordable wearable device on the wrist that measures skin temperature to predict infection, such as COVID-19, or other medical conditions.

This research was published in IEEE Sensors Journal in January 2022. The paper titled, “A Wearable Skin Temperature Monitoring System for Early Detection of Infections,” is authored by Junjun Huan, Joshua S. Bernstein, Parker Difuntorum, Naren Vikram Raj Masna, Nikolaus Gravenstein, Swarup Bhunia, and Soumyajit Mandal.

The wearable, open-source wrist temperature monitoring system would enable the reliable identification of slowly-varying skin temperature patterns that may be indicative of infections. Many infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, can cause chronic, low-grade fever. Early detection of such low-grade fever can provide significant health benefits by acting as a screening tool for conducting further disease-specific tests. Unlike other smartwatches on the market, this device will be very cheap, just $10 or $15, and can therefore be more easily utilized on a large scale.