University's baby monitor technology gets a Royal viewing

07 Nov 2012 17:58:44.753

PA 311/12

A hands-free heart rate monitor for babies, which was developed by a team of engineers and clinicians at The University of Nottingham, was viewed by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at a special reception at Buckingham Palace.

Each year in the UK, around one in 10 newborn babies need some form of resuscitation in the vital few minutes after they are born. Currently the midwife or doctor has to keep stopping during resuscitation to listen to the baby’s heart beat with a stethoscope. Crucial seconds can be lost, putting the baby at risk of brain damage, respiratory illness and blindness.
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HeartLight is a small electronic heart rate monitor, which is placed on the baby’s forehead. The monitor could one day provide a continuous recording of the baby’s heart rate without interrupting the resuscitation procedure.

Evaluated on 200 babies
It has already been evaluated on almost 200 babies during initial clinical trials at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. This has included many very premature babies who need resuscitation and intensive care.

The technology was displayed as part of the Diamond Anniversary Reception for the children’s charity Action Medical Research. The reception was held in one of the State Rooms at the Palace celebrating the children’s charity’s 60th anniversary.

Researchers from six projects funded by Action Medical Research presented their work to The Duke of Edinburgh — the charity’s Patron and more than 100 assembled guests.

Three members of the team that were involved in developing HeartLight at The University of Nottingham travelled to Buckingham Palace, including Professor Barrie Hayes-Gill, Professor John Crowe and Dr Don Sharkey.

Saves critical time
Speaking about the invitation to the Palace, Professor Hayes-Gill said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Action Medical Research to display the HeartLight technology at Buckingham Palace.”

“Currently a stethoscope is used to measure the heart rate intermittently, which causes delays in resuscitation efforts and these measurements can be prone to human error. However, with the HeartLight sensor, a medical professional is able to focus completely on the resuscitation efforts without ever having to lose critical time by stopping to use a stethoscope.”

Richard Price, Chairman of Action Medical Research, said: “We are honoured that Action Medical Research’s patron His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh hosted the reception to celebrate our 60th anniversary. It was a wonderful way to showcase some of the fantastic research that we are currently funding across the UK to save and change the lives of babies and children.”

An Impact Campaign priority
The University of Nottingham’s HeartLight monitor has benefited from development funding as a result of a £250k Portfolio Award from the Medical Research Council.  

The University is also raising funds for the further development of HeartLight through its Impact Campaign. For details about HeartLight, or to donate, visit the Ingenuity page at

For more information about The University of Nottingham’s technologies and its services for business, visit or contact Dr George Rice on 0115 823 2190, or email

Story credits

For more information about Heartlight, contact Dr George Rice on 0115 823 2190, or email

Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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