Monitoring Infant Skin Temperatures for Research

Grant SQ2010 Portable Universal Input Data Logger

CHESTERLAND OH—August 8, 2011

CAS DataLoggers recently provided a data logging solution for Stanford University’s Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Division, initiating a research project to acquire data on infant skin temperatures for continuous patient monitoring. Surface temperature sensors connected to portable data loggers were recognized as the most effective means for measuring and recording all of the minute changes in temperature. These changes occurred over both short and very long time periods at locations on the body which were often difficult to measure. A normal body temperature for a healthy baby was considered as being between 97° and 100.4° Fahrenheit (36° to 38° degrees Celsius). Anything above this range could indicate a fever, serious infection, or disease, so the researchers needed extremely accurate skin temperature sensors. After looking as several different options, thermistors, which provide a larger change in output signal for a given temperature change than other sensor types, were the mandated choice for the project. Temperature readings would need to be constantly monitored on a portable, compact device capable of being programmed with customizable alarm thresholds and offering convenient data management…all while staying within the departmental budget.

The university’s Neonatology Division installed a Grant SQ2010 Portable Universal Input Data Logger within an incubator, connected to 4 Measurement Specialties Model 427 Medical Reusable Skin Surface Probes for Infants from Fisher Scientific. The data logger coupled with these thermistor probes provided 0.1° C temperature resolution for extreme accuracy along with a fast response time. The FDA-approved probes had highly sensitive, Teflon insulated pressed disk ceramic sensors for measurement of temperature and featured standard ¼” phone output connectors for easy installation. Stanford provided the probes to CAS beforehand for assembly with CAS custom-designed adapters to connect to the Squirrel data logger for a turn-key set-up.

The Squirrel data logger needed to be configured to read the probes, and CAS provided Stanford staff with technical support to get the system set-up. Using the SquirrelView software included with the kit, users configured the measurement channels and established alarm limits through the Setup window. A wide variety of sensor types were supported, and in this case, the type Y thermistor provided very accurate scaling for the Measurement Specialties sensor being used. After installation and configuration were complete, the biosafe surface temperature sensors were attached to an infant’s skin with the aid of medical tape for a maximum of 36 hours. The thermistors located in the sensors provide a resistance output that was proportional to the sensor temperature being measured by the data logger and converted to skin temperature, displayed in real-time on the data logger’s LCD screen and recorded in the internal memory of the logger for future analysis. With the appropriate equipment, the university would be able to perform the yearly recalibration themselves, or use a local calibration company.

The skin temperature probes worked very well with the Grant data logger, its portability being an asset in the limited space of the research lab. The Squirrel 2010 served as a flexible handheld data logger with up to 8 analog input channels capable of measuring current, voltage, and resistance in addition to temperature with 0.1% accuracy. In addition 8 digital channels along with 2 alarm/relay outputs provided the necessary alarm features for the project. The SQ2010 is capable of storing up to 1.8 million readings in onboard memory and features USB connectivity to a PC as well as optional Ethernet or RS232 connections.

The data logger kit also included SquirrelView Plus software designed with a user-friendly, Windows Explorer style interface allowing quick setup of the data logger, quick data downloads and direct export to Excel in real-time or as a .CSV file for customizable data analysis. Flexible data presentation allowed users to get a statistical summary of the data and then quickly display and analyze real time or historical data as a line graph, bar chart or analog gauge. Data could be downloaded by date, time or events, saving time when searching for readings from a specific period. A simple communication wizard enabled hassle-free working with Ethernet, modems, or cellular devices. SquirrelView Plus also added powerful features including graphical data analyses and advanced reporting options. Alarm capabilities included graphical alarm and event identification to set high and low alarm thresholds, letting researchers easily identify occurrences around specific events. Settings could be saved to PC for efficient reuse. Additionally, custom report template creation and customizable report facilities allowed staff to print convenient graphs and readings.

Stanford University benefitted immediately from installing the Grant SQ2010 data logger in the Pediatric Division’s medical research facility, which monitored and recorded all the data from the highly-accurate skin temperature probes. One compact data logger collected and presented all the data in organized, convenient format, as well as offering the mandatory alarm capabilities for the scientists to conduct their research using infants. SquirrelView Plus software was included free and provided an easy-to-use interface along with analysis and customized reporting capabilities. Additionally, the Squirrel data logger’s affordability made it ideal for the department budget while installing easily into the small research room. Check out the SQ2010’s product page here.

For further information on the SQ2010 Portable Universal Input Data Logger Kit, other Grant Instruments data logging products, or to find the ideal solution for your application-specific needs, contact a CAS Data Logger Applications Analyst at (800) 956-4437 or visit the website at

Contact Information:
CAS DataLoggers, Inc.
12628 Chillicothe Road
Chesterland, Ohio 44026
(440) 729-2570
(800) 956-4437


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