The intelligent T-shirt – The Scientists said the idea was to make health monitoring non-intrusive and comfortable
For anyone who has had to have their heart monitored for any reason, they’ll know the procedure can often be fairly tedious. Turn up at the hospital, get hooked up to lots of electrodes and lie in a bed until the test is done.
Spanish scientists have developed a system which could make the process far easier however. Made from conductive ‘e-textiles’, the ECG machine has been turned into a T-shirt. The fabric has electrodes woven in which are used to measure a patient’s heart rate and can take an ECG.
A device that looks like an ID card is then worn around the neck which collects raw data, then sends it wirelessly to a management system. This acquisition device presses against the skin and signals if a patient is resting or active, or if the heart rate or temperature of individual patient’s becomes dangerously high.
The prototype has been on trial by five patients in Spain; the conclusion reached over the three month period was that results were comparable to that of using the traditional monitors. The only issue that caused a discrepancy was if the patient made any sudden movements.
When the T-shirts become a commercial product, they are expected to allow patients to be monitored over a longer period of time and to be able to stay at home, thus reducing overcrowding in the hospitals. Another use for the T-shirts is said to be the early diagnosis of heart abnormalities in sportsmen.
The patient can be monitored in real-time without any cables due to the wireless platform, so they can stay in bed or walk around as they wish.
The system also has an alarm that doctors can tailor to each patient so that it emits a warning if their temperature or heart rate increases to a dangerous level for them.