A Wireless Small Animal Monitor

Period of Performance: 04/01/2008 - 09/30/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barron Assoc., Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed research program focuses on the development of a wireless Small Animal Physiological Monitor (SAM). The SAM system will provide the capability to monitor up to 32 laboratory animals (initially rats and mice) simultaneously, with continuous recording, synchronization, and display of physiological data, including heart rate, respiratory rate, three dimensional motion activity, skin temperature, and ambient temperature. Data will be collected from each animal via a miniature, lightweight module that is worn on the dorsal surface of the animal, with sensors integrated into an appropriately sized, chew-resistant jacket. Data will be uploaded wirelessly to a shared receiver unit that connects to a PC, and which consolidates the incoming data stream(s), archives all data on the PC's hard disk, and provides real-time data display on the PC, enabling remote monitoring of the measured variables. The Phase I effort will demonstrate proof of concept for the SAM sensor jacket in both anesthetized (supine) and conscious (prone) rats and mice. Modulation of heart rate and respiratory rate will be performed to establish the ability of the SAM system to track dynamic changes in the measurement variables. All SAM times-series data will be compared directly with criterion measures using Bland-Altman analyses. The SAM system will significantly refine animal welfare for many research experiments by eliminating the need for surgical implantation of sensors and providing the capability for wireless monitoring of key physiological parameters. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The SAM system will provide improved instrumentation that will facilitate biomedical and behavioral science investigations across essentially all NIH institutes, as rats and mice are the most commonly used vertebrates in medical research. Additionally, the SAM system will enable research in areas that are presently constrained by the absence of suitable monitoring devices. For example, many questions regarding housing and husbandry practices of rodents and the impact of environmental conditions and/or external events on these animals remain unanswered.