Using patent-pending technology called Coded Hemodynamic Imaging, the device developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo monitors a patient's blood flow at multiple arterial points simultaneously and without direct contact with the skin, a university statement said.

It is ideal for assessing patients with painful burns, highly contagious diseases, or infants in neonatal intensive care whose tiny fingers make traditional monitoring difficult.

"Traditional systems in wide use now take one blood-pulse reading at one spot on the body. This device acts like many virtual sensors that measure blood-flow behaviour on various parts of the body. The device relays measurements from all of these pulse points to a computer for continuous monitoring," said Robert Amelard, a systems design engineer at Waterloo.

Continuous data collection at different parts of the body provides a more complete picture of what's happening in the body. Whole-body imaging opens doors for advanced monitoring that can't be done with the traditional, single-point methods.

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