Evaluation of a thermal-based flow meter for assessment of mobile resting metabolic rate measures

Nai Yuan Liu, Yue Deng, Francis Tsow, Devon Bridgeman, Xiaojun Xian, Jane J. Dean, Janet L. Wilson, Nongjian Tao, Doina Kulick, Erica Forzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work evaluates the use of a new flow meter to assess exhalation rate. A mobile indirect calorimeter (MIC) was designed and used to measure resting metabolic rate (RMR), which relies on the measure of O2 consumption rate (VO2) and CO2 production rate (VCO2). The device was produced from a commercially available and well-established indirect calorimeter and implemented with a new flow meter for the purpose of this study. VO2 and VCO2 were assessed by measuring exhalation rates using the new flow meter and O2 and CO2 concentrations in breath using the original colorimetric sensors of the indirect calorimeter. The new flow meter was based on a thermal flow meter (TFM) affixed to an orifice with a diameter of 6.8 mm used as a passage for exhaled breath from 16 subjects. The results were compared with a metabolic cart (Medical Graphics), which was connected in series to the modified device. We found that 69% of the results had more than a 10% difference between the modified MIC device and the reference instrument, suggesting that the sensitivity of the thermal flow meter changed over time, which precluded its use as a flow meter for breath flow rate measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9186475
JournalJournal of Sensors
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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