An Injectable System for Subcutaneous Photoplethysmography, Accelerometry, and Thermometry in Animals.
Obtaining physiological data from animals in a non-obtrusive and continuous manner is important to veterinary science. This paper demonstrates the design and deployment of a miniaturized capsule-based system for subdermal injection to provide real-time and continuous heart-rate, movement, and core-body-temperature measurements. The presented device incorporates sensors for photoplethysmography, motion detection, and temperature measurements. A Bluetooth-Low-Energy enabled microcontroller configures the sensors, digitizes the sensor information, and wirelessly connects with external devices. The device is powered by a CR425 battery for this paper, and various other battery solutions are available based upon the use case. The design uses only commercially available integrated circuits in order to reduce the development cost and be modular. The encapsulation is a combination of medical epoxy and poly(methyl methacrylate) that fits within a 6-gauge hypodermic needle. The preliminary evaluation of the device included an in vitro assessment of its thermal response and measurement accuracy, the impact of one-month implantation on surrounding tissue, the power consumption with duty-cycling of various sensors, and a measurement of physiological signals in a rat and a chicken. Having a form factor and implantation method similar to existing devices for animals, this novel system is a useful platform for both scientists and veterinarians to better study a diverse range of animals.