When you think of a health monitoring device, your mind probably goes to the vast range of devices worn on the wrist like watch, but what if you want an unobtrusive solution? Well according to a recent Medgadget article, you may soon be able to gather vital health data straight from your clothing. This is thanks to the development of flexible carbon nanotube fibers, similar to sewing thread, that can be incorporated into garments. The “threads” are highly conductive and strong enough to hold a garment together, but still fully machine washable.
The technology was developed by researchers at Rice Technology, who incorporated the fibers into a sports shirt and then monitored heart rate and obtained a continual electrocardiogram. They incorporated the threads with a zig-zag stitch, which allows the fabric to stretch without breaking them. In addition to acting as a sensor, the fibers also work as electrodes that can be attached to a device like a Bluetooth transmitter to wirelessly transfer data to a smartphone. A video demonstration can be seen here.