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A novel fetal movement simulator for the performance evaluation of vibration Sensors for wearable fetal movement monitors

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Title: A novel fetal movement simulator for the performance evaluation of vibration Sensors for wearable fetal movement monitors
Authors: Ghosh, AK
Burniston, SF
Krentzel, D
Roy, A
Sheikh, AS
Siddiq, T
Trinh, PMP
Velazquez, MM
Vielle, H-T
Nowlan, NC
Vaidyanathan, R
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Fetal movements (FM) are an important factor in the assessment of fetal health. However, there is currently no reliable way to monitor FM outside clinical environs. While extensive research has been carried out using accelerometer-based systems to monitor FM, the desired accuracy of detection is yet to be achieved. A major challenge has been the difficulty of testing and calibrating sensors at the pre-clinical stage. Little is known about fetal movement features, and clinical trials involving pregnant women can be expensive and ethically stringent. To address these issues, we introduce a novel FM simulator, which can be used to test responses of sensor arrays in a laboratory environment. The design uses a silicon-based membrane with material properties similar to that of a gravid abdomen to mimic the vibrations due to fetal kicks. The simulator incorporates mechanisms to pre-stretch the membrane and to produce kicks similar to that of a fetus. As a case study, we present results from a comparative study of an acoustic sensor, an accelerometer, and a piezoelectric diaphragm as candidate vibration sensors for a wearable FM monitor. We find that the acoustic sensor and the piezoelectric diaphragm are better equipped than the accelerometer to determine durations, intensities, and locations of kicks, as they have a significantly greater response to changes in these conditions than the accelerometer. Additionally, we demonstrate that the acoustic sensor and the piezoelectric diaphragm can detect weaker fetal movements (threshold wall displacements are less than 0.5 mm) compared to the accelerometer (threshold wall displacement is 1.5 mm) with a trade-off of higher power signal artefacts. Finally, we find that the piezoelectric diaphragm produces better signal-to-noise ratios compared to the other two sensors in most of the cases, making it a promising new candidate sensor for wearable FM monitors. We believe that the FM simulator represents a key development towards enabling the eventual translation of wearable FM monitoring garments.
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance: 15-Oct-2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/84835
DOI: 10.3390/s20216020
ISSN: 1424-8220
Publisher: MDPI AG
Journal / Book Title: Sensors
Volume: 20
Issue: 21
Copyright Statement: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open accessarticle distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: accelerometer
acoustic sensor
fetal movement monitor
fetal movement simulator
maternal abdomen model
piezoelectric diaphragm
fetal movement simulator
fetal movement monitor
maternal abdomen model
acoustic sensor
piezoelectric diaphragm
0301 Analytical Chemistry
0805 Distributed Computing
0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering
0502 Environmental Science and Management
0602 Ecology
Analytical Chemistry
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN 6020
Appears in Collections:Mechanical Engineering

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons