uah p 17029

Docket: UAH-P-17029


Continuous monitoring of vital signs, such as heart rate and breathing, has become increasingly used for health and wellness monitoring. Smartwatches and smartphones can now monitor, record, and store heart rate data in personal medical records for data mining and assessment of health conditions. Currently optical sensors are used; however, they consume significant power, which limits battery life and prevents continuous monitoring with infrequent sampling of vital signs throughout the day.

Researchers at UAH have developed a system and method of monitoring physiological signals using capacitive sensing. This revolutionary technology uses capacitive sensing to detect changes caused by pulsating blood at contact points with the body. The method has been proven as accurate, and offers significant advantages such as lower power consumption, robust measurement using multiple contact points, and direct support from existing microcontrollers. Multiple capacitive sensors could be implemented on each device, for example, around the bezel of a smartphone or belt of a smartwatch.

Multiple sensors on each smart device provide a synergy of information, providing unique sensing opportunities such as assessment of blood pressure changes using measurement of the pulse wave velocity. The ability to monitor blood pressure allows continuous vital sign monitoring every time the device is touched. Seamless assessment of blood pressure dozens of times per day without sensor application (e.g. cuff), creates a personalized assessment of blood pressure fluctuations throughout the day, over long-term periods. This capacitive sensing technology developed at UAH has the ability to create new and enhance existing applications for monitoring the health and emotional state of a user via capacitive sensors in smart devices.


  • Wearable health monitoring
  • Smartphones
  • Smart and fitness watches
  • Fitness equipment sensors
  • Emotional computing
  • Stress monitoring
  • IoT applications


  • Cost effective
  • Robust monitoring
  • Low power consumption
  • Direct support from existing microcontrollers
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Breathing monitoring
  • Blood pressure monitoring


  • State of Development: Working Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for
  • Patent Status: Patent pending