Evaluation of wireless determination of skin temperature using iButtons

W.D. van Marken Lichtenbelt*, H.A.M. Daanen, L. Wouters, R. Fronczek, R.J. Raymann, N.M.W. Severens, E.J.W. van Someren

*Corresponding author for this work

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Measurements of skin temperatures are often complicated because of the use of wired sensors. This is so in field studies, but also holds for many laboratory conditions. This article describes a wireless temperature system for human skin temperature measurements, i.e. the Thermochron iButton DS1291H. The study deals with validation of the iButton and its application on the human skin, and describes clinical and field measurements. The validation study shows that iButtons have a mean accuracy of -0.09 degrees C (-0.4 degrees C at most) with a precision of 0.05 degrees C (0.09 degrees C at most). These properties can be improved by using calibration. Due to the size of the device the response time is longer than that of conventional sensors, with a tau in water of 19 s. On the human skin under transient conditions the response time is significantly longer, revealing momentary deviations with a magnitude of 1 degrees C. The use of iButtons has been described in studies on circadian rhythms, sleep and cardiac surgery. With respect to circadian rhythm and sleep research, skin temperature assessment by iButtons is of significant value in laboratory, clinical and home situations. We demonstrate that differences in laboratory and field measurements add to our understanding of thermophysiology under natural living conditions. The advantage of iButtons in surgery research is that they are easy to sterilize and wireless so that they do not hinder the surgical procedure. In conclusion, the application of iButtons is advantageous for measuring skin temperatures in those situations in which wired instruments are unpractical and fast responses are not required
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-497
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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