A team of engineers and physicians has developed a wearable, noninvasive system to monitor electrical activity in the stomach over 24 hours — essentially an electrocardiogram but for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Researchers have developed a wearable system to monitor stomach activity. (Credit: UCSD)

Applications include monitoring GI activity for patients outside of a clinical setting, which cuts down costs. Monitoring for longer periods of time also increases the likelihood of capturing abnormal events.

The team developed a sophisticated algorithmic pipeline that can clean up data and separate out abdominal muscle activity (for example, when a person walks), heart beats, and gastric activity into different bands of signals that do not overlap. As a result, clinicians can examine each signal individually and compare it to others.

The device itself uses off-the-shelf electrodes used in electrocardiograms. The electronics and battery are encased in a 3D printed box and connected to the electrodes, which fit on a person’s abdomen just over the stomach.

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