AI-Guided Computing Insights into a Thermostat Monitoring Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Sensors (Basel). 2023 May 5;23(9):4492. doi: 10.3390/s23094492.


In any healthcare setting, it is important to monitor and control airflow and ventilation with a thermostat. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations can be carried out to investigate the airflow and heat transfer taking place inside a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In this present study, the NICU is modeled based on the realistic dimensions of a single-patient room in compliance with the appropriate square footage allocated per incubator. The physics of flow in NICU is predicted based on the Navier-Stokes conservation equations for an incompressible flow, according to suitable thermophysical characteristics of the climate. The results show sensible flow structures and heat transfer as expected from any indoor climate with this configuration. Furthermore, machine learning (ML) in an artificial intelligence (AI) model has been adopted to take the important geometric parameter values as input from our CFD settings. The model provides accurate predictions of the thermal performance (i.e., temperature evaluation) associated with that design in real time. Besides the geometric parameters, there are three thermophysical variables of interest: the mass flow rate (i.e., inlet velocity), the heat flux of the radiator (i.e., heat source), and the temperature gradient caused by the convection. These thermophysical variables have significantly recovered the physics of convective flows and enhanced the heat transfer throughout the incubator. Importantly, the AI model is not only trained to improve the turbulence modeling but also to capture the large temperature gradient occurring between the infant and surrounding air. These physics-informed (Pi) computing insights make the AI model more general by reproducing the flow of fluid and heat transfer with high levels of numerical accuracy. It can be concluded that AI can aid in dealing with large datasets such as those produced in NICU, and in turn, ML can identify patterns in data and help with the sensor readings in health care.

PMID:37177696 | PMC:PMC10181714 | DOI:10.3390/s23094492