Electronic Engineering Department, The Chinese University of Hong Kong - Prof. Y.T. Zhang

Prof. Y.T. Zhang wins the Hong Kong ICT Gold Award

Both the “Non-contact Electro-cardiogram Monitoring Bedsheet” and “Health-shirt” developed by a team led by Professor Zhang Yuan-ting of the Department of Electronic Engineering, received the Best Lifestyle Gold Award (Home Life and Healthy Living) from the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2008. These two low-cost and user-friendly devices monitor heart rate and blood pressure on a 24-hour basis which is particularly beneficial to heart disease patients and people with high risk (elders and hypertension patients).

Coronary heart disease is the number one killer in Hong Kong and causes more than 6,000 deaths each year. Patients suffering from sudden heart attack may die shortly if rescue is not available in time. The Non-contact Electro-cardiogram Monitoring Bedsheet uses soft and thin conductive textile as electrodes, which are fixed on specific spots to monitor user’s heart rate and its variability. Whenever the bedsheet detects a hazardous situation, it will give an alarm or dial a designated phone number for help, thus preventing sudden deaths of heart disease patients during sleep. As no electrodes or wires are attached to the user, the bedsheet will not obstruct normal sleep and suits people of different ages with different sleeping postures. The accuracy of the bedsheet reaches 90%. It will be put on the market in six months with a price below HK$1,000.
A common sphygmomanometer can measure blood pressure at a certain moment only. If continuous monitoring of blood pressure is needed, the measuring procedures have to be performed repeatedly. The Health-shirt avoids such inconvenience, and integrates the functions of monitoring, diagnosis and non-drug treatment. By putting on the specially designed Health-shirt, a user’s variability of heart rate and blood pressure can be measured continuously by means of the conductive textile in the shirt. The indices are then shown on watches or mobile phones. When the blood pressure reaches a certain high level, a built-in MP3 player will automatically play a suitably therapeutic music to lower the user’s blood pressure to normal level.

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Fig.1 Non-contact Electro-cardiogram Monitoring Bedsheet

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Fig.2 Health-shirt

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Fig. 3 Professor Zhang receives the Gold Award from Ir. SW Cheung (right), Vice President of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation, and Prof. KF Wong (left), President of Hong Kong Information Technology Joint Council

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Fig. 4 Prof. Zhang and his research team