Sensing Human Respiration with a Conductive Silicone Band

  • Jonathan E. Thompson


A low-cost sensor for documenting human respiration is described. The sensor is based on a conductive elastomer band that changes electrical resistance when stretched.  When the conductive cord is looped around a volunteer’s chest to a tight fit, the sensing of respiratory cycles can easily be achieved thru expansion / contraction of the silicone band.  As the silicone band can be purchased at a current retail cost of less than $5 USD per meter, the sensor offers significant promise for use within massively parallel, IoT style human health monitoring networks.  This work describes the observed resistance change when mechanical stress is placed on the band, the temporal response of the resistance change which occurs, and documents proof-of-concept measurements that illustrate that a simple doped elastomer cord can serve as a low-cost transducer to report diagnostics of relevance to human health.      

Keywords- low-cost sensing; respiration; healthcare; IoT; Covid research; apnea; smart sensor; soft matter; internet of things