A square black dot with huge abilities to record lung and heart data. (Credit: Georgia Tech/Ayazi Lab)

A sensor chip smaller than a ladybug records multiple lung and heart signals along with body movements and could enable a future socially distanced health monitor. The chip, which acts as an advanced electronic stethoscope and accelerometer in one, is aptly called an accelerometer contact microphone. It detects vibrations that enter the chip from inside the body while keeping out distracting noise from outside the body’s core like airborne sounds.

The core mechanism of the chip involves two finely manufactured layers of silicon, which overlay each other separated by the space of 270 nm - about 0.000001 in. They carry a minute voltage.

Vibrations from bodily motions and sounds put part of the chip in very slight motion, making the voltage flux, thus creating readable electronic outputs. In human testing, the chip has recorded a variety of signals from the mechanical workings of the lungs and the heart with clarity, signals that often escape meaningful detection by current medical technology.

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