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Imec and Holst Centre shows ECG measuring smart garment
26
Jun '15
The Imec and Holst Centre demonstrated an advanced smart garment which measures electrocardiogram (ECG) of the body accurately at the Imec Technology Forum (ITF) in Brussels.

“The smart t-shirt also recognises body activity and calculates energy expenditure in an unobtrusive way, while allowing for maximum user comfort and natural movement,” an Imec press release said.

“The t-shirt can monitor data such as the wearer’s heart rate, heart rate variability, activities performed and calories burned, and share information over the cloud via a mobile phone, tablet or PC,” Imec added.

The t-shirt features Imec and Holst Centre’s flexible smart fabric interconnect technology and miniaturised electronics of a size 1.5cm x 2cm x 2mm.

This is integrated into a module of the size of an extended SD card, containing Imec’s high accuracy and ultra-low power multi-sensor data acquisition chip, a battery and a Bluetooth low energy radio chip.

The module including the battery weighs only 7 grams, and can be removed to wash the shirt or charge the battery.

The patented flexible and stretchable interconnect technology preserves the original properties of the fabric, so that the t-shirt remains flexible, stretchable, breathable, lightweight and washable.

“It also gives complete freedom in placing sensors, actuators and electronics to ensure the highest data quality,” the research centre informed.

All the steps used to integrate the smart electronic functionality, including the lamination technique and interconnect technology, are fully compatible with most standard material production processes.

“We want to extend the functionality of smart garments and deliver medical-grade data through everyday clothes,” said Ruben de Francisco, program manager wearable health solutions at the Imec and Holst Centre.

“The power consumption of our smart t-shirt has been optimised to achieve long battery use, enabling a wearer to be continuously monitored,” Jeroen van den Brand, program manager integration technologies too said.

Brand also added, “It also offers the perfect platform to integrate additional capabilities such as breathing rate measurements and dehydration monitoring.”

The centre is also exploring ways to extend the functionality and to render the garment more communicative, like providing feedback of the data to wearers.

“This can be done by integrating simple LED indicators, actuators for haptic feedback or, in the longer term, smart display technologies,” Brand noted.

The Imec Technology Forum (ITF) brings together some of the top minds and experts in semiconductor, electronics, embedded systems, information and communications technology, energy and healthcare. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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