Image: Courtesy of the researchers
Comfortable, form-fitting garments could be used to remotely track patients’ health.
MIT researchers have developed a way to incorporate electronic sensors into stretchy fabrics, allowing them to create shirts or other garments that could be used to monitor vital signs such as temperature, respiration, and heart rate.
The sensor-embedded garments, which are machine washable, can be customized to fit close to the body of the person wearing them. The researchers envision that this type of sensing could be used for monitoring people who are ill, either at home or in the hospital, as well as athletes or astronauts.
“We can have any commercially available electronic parts or custom lab-made electronics embedded within the textiles that we wear every day, creating conformable garments,” says Canan Dagdeviren, the LG Electronics Career Development Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. “These are customizable, so we can make garments for anyone who needs to have some physical data from their body like temperature, respiration rate, and so forth.”
Dagdeviren is the senior author of a paper describing the new material today in the journal npg Flexible Electronics. MIT graduate student Irmandy Wicaksono is the lead author of the study. Several MIT undergraduates also contributed to the study through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
Other research groups have developed thin, skin-like patches that can measure temperature and other vital signs, but these are delicate and must be taped to the skin. Dagdeviren’s Conformable Decoders group at the Media Lab set out to create garments more similar to the clothes we normally wear, using a stretchy fabric that has removable electronic sensors incorporated into it.
“In our case, the textile is not electrically functional. It’s just a passive element of our garment so that you can wear the devices comfortably and conformably during your daily activities,” Dagdeviren says. “Our main goal was to measure the physical activity of the body in terms of temperature, respiration, acceleration, all from the same body part, without requiring any fixture or any tape.”
The electronic sensors consist of long, flexible strips that are encased in epoxy and then woven into narrow channels in the fabric. These channels have small openings that allow the sensors to be exposed to the skin. For this study, the researchers designed a prototype shirt with 30 temperature sensors and an accelerometer that can measure the wearer’s movement, heart rate, and breathing rate. The garment can then transmit this data wirelessly to a smartphone.
The researchers chose their fabric — a polyester blend — for its moisture-wicking properties and its ability to conform to the skin, similar to compression shirts worn during exercise. Last summer, several of the researchers spent time at a factory in Shenzhen, China, to experiment with mass-producing the material used for the garments.
“From the outside it looks like a normal T-shirt, but from the inside, you can see the electronic parts which are touching your skin,” Dagdeviren says. “It compresses on your body, and the active parts of the sensors are exposed to the skin.”
The garments can be washed with the sensors embedded in them, and the sensors can also be removed and transferred to a different garment.
The researchers tested their prototype shirts as wearers exercised at the gym, allowing them to monitor changes in temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate. Because the sensors cover a large surface area of the body, the researchers can observe temperature changes in different parts of the body, and how those changes correlate with each other.
The shirts can be easily manufactured in different sizes to fit an array of ages and body types, Dagdeviren says. She plans to begin developing other types of garments, such as pants, and is working on incorporating additional sensors for monitoring blood oxygen levels and other indicators of health.
This kind of sensing could be useful for personalized telemedicine, allowing doctors to remotely monitor patients while patients remain at home, Dagdeviren says, or to monitor astronauts’ health while they’re in space.
“You don’t need to go to the doctor or do a video call,” Dagdeviren says. “Through this kind of data collection, I think doctors can make better assessments and help their patients in a better way.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Apple Could Launch ‘Smart Clothes’ Sometime In The Future And We’re Wondering What’s Lefton February 26, 2021 at 3:08 am
We’ve got smartphones, smartwatches, fitness bands, smart lights and now it looks like smart clothes are going to be the next thing. Apple is apparently working on a ‘smart fabric’ that can be sewn on ...
- Apple may be developing new 'smart fabric' for sportswear, patent suggestson February 25, 2021 at 9:23 pm
Apple is developing 'smart fabric buttons' that could be integrated into clothing, according to a newly registered patent. In the listing, Apple notes that the tech could be used to connect computers, ...
- Forget Apple Watch 7 — new Apple patent reveals smart clothingon February 25, 2021 at 1:39 pm
Are smart clothes the next big thing in wearable technology? According to a patent, Apple is working on 'smart fabric' for clothing like shirts, hats and more. And as someone who both enjoys fashion ...
- Smart Sports Clothing Market Emerging Trends and Growth Prospects 2026 : Jawbone, Fibit, Garminon February 25, 2021 at 1:20 pm
Stay up-to-date with Smart Sports Clothing Market research offered by HTF MI. Check how key trends and emerging drivers are shaping this industry growth.
- The Best Luggage for Smart, Stylish and Streamlined Travelingon February 25, 2021 at 8:30 am
Besides your passport, your most valuable possession when you’re constantly on the go should be your suitcase. Take it from the electronic trio, A R I Z O N A, who spend more than a third of the year ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Monitoring vital signs
- Additional Bedside Cardiac Monitors for TCMH Emergency Departmenton February 26, 2021 at 9:37 am
The USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program has awarded Texas County Memorial Hospital with a $46,700 grant to assist with the purchase of nine new bedside cardiac monitors for the ...
- Vital Signs Monitoring Devices Market Size to accrue $ 8.3 billion by 2027on February 24, 2021 at 10:41 pm
Global Vital Signs Monitoring Devices Market to reach USD 8.3 billion by 2027. Global Vital Signs Monitoring Devices Market is valued approximately at USD 5.0 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to ...
- Smartphone app checks vital signs with face scanon February 24, 2021 at 12:05 am
Every morning before their shift at a Kajima construction site, workers check their vital signs.Location: SingaporeAll it takes is a 45-second scan of his face using an app developed by Singapore ...
- UBC researchers are investigating touchless technology to remotely monitor patients’ vital signson February 19, 2021 at 9:44 pm
UBC researchers are investigating touchless technology to remotely monitor patients' vital signs When COVID-19 emerged, healthcare ...
- Video: COVID-monitoring droneson February 19, 2021 at 3:30 pm
Researchers combined drones, cameras and AI to heck people’s vital health signs from a distance, including looking for COVID-19 symptoms.