This MIT electronic sweater follows the wearer's vital signs

This MIT electronic sweater is a more effective alternative for tracking your vital signs. After the patches of “electronic skin” sensors which monitoring the wearer's vital signs.

This MIT electronic sweater follows the vital signs of those who wear it

This MIT electronic sweater is more practical

Electronic patches generally take the form of a thin sheet of silicone inside which electronic components are integrated. Adhered to the skin, they are able to monitoring factors such as heart rate. But also the temperature of the skin and the breathing of the wearer. This data is transmitted wirelessly to a nearby mobile device or computer.

Unfortunately, a single patch can only monitoring a single part of the body. And if multiple patches can be placed on different parts of a person, this approach can be complicated at times. Especially if each device requires its own on-board power supply. In addition, smart health connected patches like the e-skin can fall off during intense activity. Finally, they may not withstand repeated or long-term use.

This is why clothes made with "smart fabrics" have been developed to replace patches. These textiles, which often contain electrical conductors. They cover larger areas of the body. They can be easily put on and taken off. In many cases, however, they are not very extensible. This compromises their ability to maintain sensory contact with the wearer's skin.

This is where the sweater made with MIT's E-TeCS (Electronic Textiles Conformable Suit) technology comes in.

A whole series of measurements is carried out

It is made from a blend of stretchy, moisture-absorbing polyester that clings to the contours of the wearer's body. Kind of like an athletic compression shirt. In this fabric, a series of long flexible electronic sensory strips are woven into narrow channels. These come into contact with the skin through multiple holes in the bottom of each channel. They are all smart health connected to a single detachable module which houses a microprocessor, a Bluetooth transmitter and a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery.

In its current prototype form, the sweater measures the temperature of the skin through 30 separate sensors. It tracks the wearer's movements, heart rate and respiratory rate using a single accelerometer.

When the garment needs to be washed, its processing module is simply removed. Waterproof epoxy coated sensory strips can be left in place. Although it is possible to remove them from their channels to transfer them to another sweater.

Researchers say it should be relatively easy to mass-produce sweaters and other clothing incorporating E-TeCS technology, in a variety of styles and sizes. Such clothing could ultimately be used to assess the performance of athletes, the health of patients or even the well-being of astronauts on space missions.

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