e-Bra Monitors Cardiac Signs

Textile sensor monitors the heart and sends data via smart phone

(RxWiki News) A team of engineers have taken heart monitoring to the next level with the development of e-bras and vests capable of picking up signs from the heart, which can be sent to doctors and patients via a smart phone.

The wireless monitoring system features a series of nano-structured textile sensors built into the vest or e-bra.

These new 'garments' can monitor blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, some neural activity and readings picked up by electrocardiograph (EKG), including inverted T waves that could indicate the onset of cardiac arrest.

"Talk to your cardiologist about the benefits of monitoring."

Vijay Varadan, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas and a professor of neurosurgery in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, noted that the e-bra allows for continuous real-time monitoring.

He said that the garment, loaded with various sensors integrated into the fabric, collects the data and can then send it anywhere in the world by smart phone.

The e-bra for women resembles a traditional sports bra, while a lightweight vest was designed for men. The lightweight wireless module, which is about the size of a ring box, snaps into the clothing. Sensors collect data, compress it and send it across wireless networks.

The sensors, made of arrays of gold nano-electrodes fabricated on a flexible substrate, are smaller than the size of a dime. Textile sensors are woven into the fabric, and do not require the traditionally used sticky electrodes or use of gel.

After the sensors gather the data it is sent to the snap-on wireless module, which acts as a tiny, low-powered computer complete with Bluetooth, capable of sending the information gathered through wireless networks such as smart phones and handheld devices.

The software is set up so users can view all of the monitoring data collected on a single smart phone or computer screen, or each individual measurement, such as real-time EKG information, can be viewed separately.

The device also includes a global positioning system so that the exact location of the patient can be tracked, and it can be programmed to send emergency messages through voice or text messages if it detects extreme or abnormal conditions.

Details of the high-tech e-bra have not yet been published, though results of the e-Nanoflex Sensor System, which powers the device, were previously published in the Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine.

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Review Date: 
May 2, 2012