Image A: Three electrodes attached to the forearm are used to pick up electrical impulses in the muscles used to deliver a baby. The data is transmitted to a laptop computer across the room.
Photo by Will Kirk
Image B: Stanley Huang, William Tam, Robert Allen, Yen Shi (Gillian) Hoe and I-Jean Khoo (not pictured) have obtained a provisional patent covering their device to measure the force used in delivering a baby. Huang, Tam, Hoe and Khoo were students last spring in a biomedical design course taught by Allen.
Photo by Will Kirk
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When the birth of a baby does not proceed smoothly, how much force should a doctor or midwife apply? If a complicated delivery takes too long, the child could suffocate, yet pulling too hard could injure the child.
To address this dilemma, Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering students have invented an unobtrusive device that measures the amount of force a doctor or midwife uses while delivering a baby. A wireless transmitter sends the data from the doctor to a computer across the room. The system is already being tested at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where researchers hope it eventually will help them identify the safest delivery method for a complicated birth. The inventors believe their device also could be used as a teaching tool, helping obstetricians-in-training learn how to assess the amount of force they use during a routine delivery.
Phil Sneiderman | JHU
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