MIT researchers have developed a machine-washable sensor that embeds itself into clothing in order to monitor the vitals of the person wearing it.

Interesting EngineeringBy Fabienne Lang


© MIT | MIT Develops Wearable Sensors Sewn into Clothes That Monitor Vital Signs


The future of wearables is a smart one, with many companies and individuals focusing on how to incorporate them into day to day lifestyles to ameliorate our lives. A team of researchers from MIT has developed a small wearable that can be sewn into clothing and monitors the wearer's vitals. 
The lightweight sensor is even machine washable and can be integrated into a number of fabrics to gauge the wearer's vital signs. 

A t-shirt to monitor your heart rate

Imagine wearing a sports t-shirt that monitors your heart rate, body temperature, and respiratory rate. That's precisely what the MIT team has been working on. The lightweight sensor it's developed embeds itself neatly into the folds of the clothing, which can include flexible fabrics such as polyester, typically used in sportswear.
The clothing itself doesn't change in appearance, the sensor can be removed at will and placed into another garment, and the sensor is machine washable. Handy! 
The MIT prototype communicates with a smartphone and has the potential in a variety of industries such as sporting, medical, and even space to monitor astronauts' vitals. Part of the research was indeed funded by NASA and the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative.
More than anything, this appears to be a cost-effective and simple (not to mention comfortable) method to monitor patients with chronic conditions, which require them to have regular check-ups on their vital signs. This sensor could automate a process that would make it both easier for the patient and the caregiver. 
Remote healthcare solutions are clearly of big interest in our current climate surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, where keeping a distance is essential in order to minimize the risk of catching the coronavirus. Healthcare professionals need to be well covered up before taking the vital signs of patients, and this type of sensor could help them keep their chances of contracting the disease at a minimum. 
This article was originally published by Interesting Engineering.  
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