New technology at Lurie Children's helps moms connect to NICU babies

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Potentially groundbreaking technology could give parents a new chance to bond with newborns in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.

Thanks to new wireless monitoring sensors at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, a mother can now hold her 10-month-old son.

Asher is a patient in Lurie's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit. His mom, Amanda, has been waiting a long time to hold him.

"I spent a lot of time just sitting outside his isolette staring at him or just putting one finger just to touch his skin to have some contact with him," Amanda Cruz said.

Asher, who's 10 months old Wednesday, was born extremely premature.

At just 25 weeks and weighing just over one pound, he was hooked up to machines, monitoring his every vital sign, making it next to impossible for the Cruz family to comfort their son.

But all that's changing, now that a team of researchers recently created a tiny skin-like wireless sensor that cuts all the cords for babies in hospital newborn Intensive Care Units or NICUS.

The new sensor is thick like a piece of paper, but not as heavy. The sensors are attached to the chest and foot to track vitals without relying on potentially damaging wires or adhesives.

The new technology is the result of a collaboration between a team of researchers at Northwestern University and physicians at Lurie.

"There's now one very small patch with micro-circuitry in it on the chest and that picks up EKG, respiratory rate, and also the heart rate," Professor Dr. Amy Paller, a pediatric dermatologist at Northwestern University and Lurie Children's Hospital.

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Thanks to new wireless monitoring sensors at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, a mother can now hold her 10-month-old son.



With their parents' permission, 90 babies have already participated in the study, which has been underway for the last two years.
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