Image of wearable technology
The wearable technology helps people with swallowing disorders. (Credit: Jared Pike/Purdue University image)

A wearable monitoring device makes treatments easier and more affordable for millions of people with swallowing disorders. The skin-mountable sensor sticker attaches firmly to the neck area and is connected with small cables to a wireless transmitter unit.

Successful completion of a swallow requires the precise coordination of more than 30 pairs of muscles of the head and neck, six pairs of cranial nerves, and complex circuitry in the brainstem and several brain areas. Any disruption in these pathways can result in severe swallowing disorders.

The sensor sticker is stretchable and flexible to work well with the skin and curvilinear head and neck shape, while the connected unit has electronic chips and more rigid components. The sensor stickers are disposable, designed with inexpensive components and meant to be used about 10 times before they are thrown away.