Smart fabrics for health to be piloted by EU team
A cluster of EU research projects, collectively known as the SFIT Group, are piloting garments which can measure a wearer's body temperature or trace their heart activity.
The European Commission scheme, known as Biotex, is focused on supporting the development of smart textiles. Miniaturised biosensors in a textile patch can analyse body fluids such as sweat, and provide an accurate assessment of the wearer's health.
The idea is that a fabric would be embedded with numerous sensors, constantly monitoring vital signs. If danger signs are detected, the garment could be programmed to contact the wearer's doctor or send them a warning text message.
Jean Luprano, a researcher at the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology (SCEM), and coordinator of the project, said medicine was one of the main areas the technology could be applied. Luprano said development work included a suite of sensors that can be integrated into a textile patch, incorporating both a sensing and processing unit that could target and respond to different body fluids or biochemistry. The system uses no power, thereby reducing the power demands of the system and the weight of a battery pack that the wearer would have to carry.
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