A team of engineers at North Carolina State University has developed an integrated, wearable system called the Health and Environmental Tracker (HET), that, they say, can monitor a user’s environment, heart rate, and other variables to predict and prevent asthma attacks. They plan to begin testing the system on a larger subject population this summer.

A prototype of the HET wristband.
Photo credit: NC State University.

“Our goal was to design a wearable system that could track the wellness of the subjects and in particular provide the infrastructure to predict asthma attacks, so that the users could take steps to prevent them by changing their activities or environment,” says Alper Bozkurt, principal investigator and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State.

HET is composed of a suite of new sensing devices that are incorporated into a wristband and a patch that adheres to the chest. The patch includes sensors that track a patient’s movement, heart rate, respiratory rate, the amount of oxygen in the blood, skin impedance and wheezing.