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:
- InventHelp Inventor Develops Improved System for Storing and Selecting Clothes (SDB-1447)on June 23, 2020 at 10:32 am
"I wanted to create a more efficient closet system for storing and selecting clothing," said an inventor, from San Diego, Calif., "so I invented the Smart Hanger System." ...
- Resale market expected to be valued at $64 billion in 5 years, as used clothing takes over closetson June 23, 2020 at 9:34 am
Despite the coronavirus pandemic upending much of the retail industry and putting a damper on apparel sales, the secondhand clothing market is still expected to boom, according to one online resale ...
- The best deals on clothing, shoes and more from Amazon Canada's Big Style Saleon June 22, 2020 at 9:54 am
Amazon Canada's Big Style Sale is offering deals on labels like Stuart Weitzmann, Superga and Lacoste across men's and women's shoes, clothing, accessory, jewelry and more, so there's plenty of ...
- Amazon Big Style Sale is live now with huge discounts on designer clothing, footwear, handbags, watches, luggageon June 22, 2020 at 3:10 am
The Big Style Sale event from Amazon is live as of Monday, June 22 with huge discounts on fashion including top designer clothing & footwear brands, handbags, watches, luggage, Levi's, Adidas, Calvin ...
- Graphene smart textiles developed for heat adaptive clothingon June 18, 2020 at 7:38 am
New research on the two-dimensional (2-D) material graphene has allowed researchers to create smart adaptive clothing which can lower the body temperature of the wearer in hot climates.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Monitoring vital signs
- Biologists to begin grizzly bear capture in Yellowstone National Park as part of population monitoring efforton June 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm
The operation is required under the Endangered Species Act and will be conducted by biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. The study will run from June 27 to Aug ...
- F1 stars to slip into biometric underwear which sends heart rate and other vital signs after high-speed crasheson June 22, 2020 at 7:58 pm
The design for the VISM or Vital Signs Monitor, has now been approved by the sport’s governing body, the FIA. The VISM is fireproof and will measure and transmit a driver’s heart rate and breathing ...
- New SEMI-NBMC, GE Research Project to Advance Vital Signs Monitoring of Patients During Emergency Air Transporton June 22, 2020 at 7:02 am
June 22, 2020 /CNW/ -- Nano-Bio Materials Consortium (NBMC), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, today launched a project with GE Research to develop a medical-grade wireless patch that monitors the ...
- Veterinary Monitoring Equipment Market 2020 Growth Probability, Key Vendors and Future Scenario Up To 2027on June 19, 2020 at 2:55 am
The veterinary monitoring equipment market is projected to reach USD 570 million by 2025 from USD 326 million in ...
- Biometric Undershirt to Monitor Race Car Driver Biometricson June 17, 2020 at 12:13 pm
A pair of auto manufacturing companies have teamed up to put biometric sensors in a fire-retardant undershirt to capture the vital data of race car drivers.