According to a recent Medgadget article, engineers at the Federal University of Espirito Santo in Brazil have developed smart pants that can non-intrusively track physical movements using fiber optic cables. The pants have a signal acquisition unit in the pocket, and when the cables bend with the wearer's movements, the optical signal changes, allowing machine learning algorithms to interpret different movements and classify gait. The technology is especially useful for monitoring elderly patients in healthcare facilities or tracking and quantifying movements during rehab, without compromising privacy the way cameras might.
The smart pants offer a discreet way to monitor activities such as walking, sitting, squatting, and kicking. The use of fiber optic sensors provides advantages like immunity to interference, easy integration into clothing, and cost-effectiveness.