Project Babelfish: A Transcutaneous Physiologic Sensor for Home and Clinical Use • Cardiovascular Network of Canada — CANet


CANet Funding


Matching Funds

Key Publications


Wireless Blood Pressure  Monitor

Wearable Transcutaneous Device

We are developing a blood pressure monitor that weighs a fraction of an ounce, is the size of a pencil stub, and is a wearable transcutaneous device. It measures the BP of every heart beat for at least a day, measures blood oxygen levels and skin colour, can detect when one falls, stores episodes of arrhythmias, and does this without wires. It transmits its signals to other devices like smart phones.

There is nothing like this in the world. All other BP machines use an arm or wrist cuffs, and almost all need another box to process the information. None are particularly friendly to wear for a few hours, never mind a day or more.

This simple device will supplant the older ones, and allow us to detect hypertension much easier than before. It will help us monitor heart failure and its treatments, and will assess patients who faint. Finally, it will be easy to use by people who are curious about their BP at home.

This is a made in Canada solution to an international problem. We hope to grow a company based on this device, and we have already planned more devices based on this technology for other uses. Hopefully, this will be done in Canada, but we do understand that this will ultimately be a business decision and licensing to another company is the second option. We anticipate this providing new and high-quality jobs for our young people. In short: good for patients, good for young people, good for Canada.

Project Lead

Dr. Robert S. Sheldon MD, PhD
University of Calgary

After receiving his MD in 1981 from the University of Toronto he moved to Calgary where he finished his training in Cardiology and in arrhythmia disturbances. He joined the staff of the University of Calgary Division of Cardiology in 1988, and practised at the Bow Valley Centre for a number of years, before finally settling at the Foothills Hospital. He has an active practice in arrhythmia management. Dr. Sheldon is the acting Senior Vice President Research of Alberta Health Services, a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He has an active basic and clinical research laboratory which is dedicated to understanding the causes and treatment of cardiovascular autonomic disorders, including loss of consciousness and the second-to-second regulation of heart beats and blood pressure.