MedGizmo: Healthcare Smart Textiles – Final Part
This is the fourth Post of our Healthcare Smart Textiles series. Here we provide some insight on e-textiles for biochemical analysis, emotional care, cardiac monitoring, delivery through the skin. Our recent Posts are:
- Post 1 – A bit of history, theory and general applications of e-textiles
- Post 2 - Medical and hygiene e-textile products, rehabilitation
- Post 3 -Monitoring, strain or stress measurement e-textiles, elder care
BIOTEX research studied a pH sensor for sweat analysis. The sensor was implemented by joining technology and was based on colorimetry.
BIOTEX project deals with the integration of bio-chemical sensors into textiles for monitoring body fluids. Within this project, researchers have developed a textile based fluid collecting system and sensors for in-vitro and in-vivo testing of pH, sodium and conductivity from body sweat
Eccrine Systems Inc. has created a patch that examines the chemical composition of sweat
Modular Sweatronics™ Platform has been designed to maximize the reuse and integration of proven materials and components, while enabling the rapid innovation and customization of specialized sweat sensor patches for medicine, industry, and sport.
The Sweatronics™ Platform is a modular, flexible system about the size of a larger band aid that is capable of measuring multiple different analytes in sweat and wirelessly transmitting data via a transceiver to remote applications. Main features of the platform include:
- Modular separation of flexible electronics from multiplexed sensor inserts
- Multiple independent sensors and signal pathways
- A proprietary physiological data processor
- Standard and special security transmission protocols
- An SDK for interfacing with a wide range of transceiver devices
Respiration rate is one of the vital parameters to be monitored both in preventive and therapeutic purposes. There are smart textile developments in order to ensure breath monitoring.
‘Disappearing Sensor’-Textile Based Sensor for Monitoring Breathing
Lightening Effects for Ambient Assisted Living
Smart textiles are often a convenient scope to bring additional functionality to the elderly and those who need professional, social, and medical assistance.
A detailed research on the subject is provided in this paper:
A Survey on Ambient-Assisted Living Tools for Older Adults by Parisa Rashidi and Alex Mihailidis
with the summary:
Emotional Care or Therapy
More and more people feel lonely due to lack of emotional communication. Touch (also called tactile perception) is considered one of the five traditional senses and has the
psychological and physiological effects on one’s health. Giving a touch or an embrace will make one feel much better, especially for the lone elders. A Hug Shirt has been proposed by CuteCircuit company, which enables people to send hugs over distance. The shirt is embedded with sensors that feel the touch, the skin warmth, and the heartbeat rate of the sender and actuators the sensation of touch, warmth, and emotions of the hug to a shirt of another shirt. Such a suit embedded with flexible actuators can be used to transfer regards and cares and even can be used for emotional care or therapy.
Hug Shirt™ by CuteCircuit
The Hug Shirt™ is a shirt that makes people send hugs over distance!
The HugShirt was invented by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz the co-founders of CuteCircuit.
Embedded in the Hug Shirt™ there are sensors that feel the strength, duration, and location of the touch, the skin warmth and the heartbeat rate of the sender and actuators that recreate the sensation of touch, warmth and emotion of the hug to the Hug Shirt™ of the distant loved one.
Philips Emotions Jacket – a new level in immersive cinematic experience
The Emotions Jacket is a research platform that uses the sense of touch to take the cinematic experience to new levels, allowing viewers to experience the intense emotions felt by characters on-screen. While other viewing enhancement techniques focus primarily on audio and visual aspects, the Emotions Jacket instead stimulates the biggest, our heaviest and most sensitive sense; the human skin.
Actuators could then be used to positively stimulate certain moods, and in doing so creating an environment that feels safe and comfortable. As an example, it may be possible to sense when a baby is restless and then stimulate the right emotions to help it settle, without the need for parental intervention. Another possible application would be to de-stress patients in hospital or doctors’ waiting rooms. Other areas such as sleep and increased productivity are also being considered.
The VEST - Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer
Delivery through the skin
This is a promising trend, since e-textiles allow to bypass the liver, making it possible to lower drug doses. A wearable textile drug delivery system has many advantages in safety and effectiveness over conventional drug delivery systems by reducing dosage and frequency of dosing.
Some examples include:
Wound dressing for the controlled release of therapeutic agents by Systagenix Wound Management
A wound dressing material for controlled activation of a wound healing therapeutic compound in the presence of a protease enzyme in a wound fluid, the material comprising: a medically acceptable polymer
There is a detailed description: Stretch-Triggered Drug Delivery from Wearable Elastomer Films Containing Therapeutic Depots
Cardiac Activity Assessment
Cardiac activity can be characterized by heartbeat and electrocardiography (ECG). Monitoring of cardiac activity was initially a challenging task for smart textile developers, and at present, there are a variety of solutions using different approaches. Here are some scholarly articles:
- Wearable Wireless Cardiovascular Monitoring Using Textile-Based Nanosensor and Nanomaterial Systems
- A novel device based on smart textile to control heart's activity during exercise
Jabil Circuit, an electronic product solutions company, together with Clothing+, acquired by Jabil in June 2015, have introduced Peak+, an innovative smart garment reference design for building an integrated textile Heart Rate Monitoring solution
The Peak+ solution includes Clothing+ textile-integrated electronics that disappear into fabrics for optimum comfort, durability and convenience, as well as Suunto wireless transmitter that transfers accurate measurement data collected from garment sensors to a smartphone app, providing easy access to tracked HRM data.
The solution also features a Firstbeat research-based, patented analytics of HRM data that delivers actionable feedback into stress, recovery and effects of physical training.
With nearly 20 years of experience integrating textiles and electronics, Clothing + is uniquely qualified to take healthcare medical applications to the next level in textiles, ensuring everything from critical bio compatibility and non-toxic materials to accurate sensor placement required for FDA and CE approval.
Acupoint Massage Suit
Acupuncture points, also called acupoints, are specific points on the surface of the body located on a meridian (connected points across the anatomy which affect a specific organ or other part of the body) into which an acupuncture needle may be inserted for treatment.
The New York College of Health Professions is developing a range of clothing that targets key pressure points in the body for pain relief and performance enhancement. Designed with both athletes and non-athletes in mind, the proposed “MyChi” collection will equip uniforms, sweatbands, and other gear with strategically positioned “acupressure buttons” to stimulate blood circulation and the immune response
There is an interesting Chinese patent: Intelligence pants
Intelligent underwear, comprising a body and panties photovoltaic generators
Finally, here are interesting papers on the subject:
- Smart Textiles. Textiles with enhanced functionality by RWTH Aachen University
- Wearable Technology. Patent Landscape Analysis
- White paper on smart textile garments and devices: a market overview of smart textile wearable technologies Ohmatex: March 2014
We do hope that this series of Posts gave a peek into this promising part of Wearables – and we indeed plan to continue updates on the subject.
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