Microfinance Monitor

Breathing Monitor Sewn in Smart ‘T-Shirt’ to Help Asthma, COPD Patients

Researchers have created a ‘smart’ T-shirt without wires or sensors that could effectively monitor breathing rhythm of the wearer in real time.

The team from the University of Laval, Canada, have sewn the antenna to their smart T-shirt at chest level with a hollow optical fibre coated with a thin layer of silver and the exterior is a polymer that protects it from the outside environment. The antenna senses and transmits the signals of resiratory movements.

The smart ‘T-Shirt’ will be usefull for patients with respiratory disorders such as asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The antenna sends the data to the designated smartphone or a computer. Since the smart shirt has sensors to detect the increase in thorax circumference and the volume of air in the lungs, it acts as a lung-testing equipment constantly, specifically helping in-patients with COPD.

Unlike the previous similar cloth sensors, the new smart T-shirt can be worn loose and it doens’t require to be attached to the body or be in direct contact of the wearer’s skin, said researchers. It can capture the data even when the person is on move or sleeping, irrespective of his or her position.

The antenna was able to withstand up to 20 washes, making it a strong proposition for use. The finding are published in journal Sensors.

The smart T-Shirt is not alone in this sphere of medical applications of wearable health devices by incorporating a growing number of sensors and adopting machine learning technologies, especially smartphones.

Recently a team of Korean researchers have studied the use of Gaussian process (GP) methods for characterizing dynamic walking patterns and detecting falls while walking with built-in wearable sensors in smartphones and/or smartwatches.

To detect falls while walking, researchers have proposed to recycle the latent samples generated in training the auto-encoded Gaussian process for GP-based novelty detection, which can lead to an early detection, helping or forewarning the wearer or his family members or physician.