Prof Esther Rodriguez Villegas
Contact EstherProf Esther Rodriguez VillegasProfessor in Low Power Electronics

The future of health lies in personal diagnostics

The diagnosis and monitoring of serious health conditions is too often delayed and fragmented. A new generation of low-power sensors coupled with advanced algorithms raises the possibility of cheap, portable devices for diagnosis and monitoring in clinical settings, at home and in the workplace. How can the accuracy and clinical value of these devices be assured? And what are the possible consequences when anyone can check their health status at any time?

"I'm curious sensing technology can open up new ways of diagnosing disease accessible to the broadest possible audience.Esther Rodriguez Villegas


Esther Rodriguez Villegas is Professor in Low Power Electronics with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. After receiving her PhD from the University of Seville, she worked at the Spanish government and European-funded National Microelectronics Centre in Barcelona before joining Imperial College London in 2002. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and is the recipient of multiple research awards, including, in 2010, an €1.8m single investigator European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. In 2014, Esther and her team were winners in the XPRIZE competition Nokia Sensing XChallenge, which recognized innovations which have the potential to revolutionize healthcare.


Esther’s research focuses on ultra-low power integrated circuit design enabling sensing devices for medical and consumer healthcare markets, for example, AcuPebble, an acoustic sensor for automatically analysing breath and cardiovascular sounds and extracting disease-related parameters.

She asks:

  • What kinds of opportunities do low-power electronic sensing and signal processing systems offer for monitoring and diagnosing diseases such as sleep apnoea and epilepsy?
  • How can these technologies be made accessible and acceptable to patients and the public while meeting robust requirements of clinical safety and accuracy?
  • What are the possible implications of ubiquitous, cheap health sensing for diagnosis and monitoring of disease at individual and population levels?

Foresight and futures work

Ambrosetti Club @ Imperial College London: What Makes a Vibrant Innovation Ecosystem?
2035: Tech Foresight
Future of digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics
Pitch@Palace Bootcamp

Profile Credits

Kit Huckvale, Alex Ayad, Chloe Stockford