No one likes going to the doctor. There’s the inevitable wait in the waiting room before eventually being ushered into the doctor’s office who spends most of his day dealing with relatively minor ailments or follow-up visits.
But what if patients could get a check-up without having to actually visit the doctor? A smart T-shirt fitted with various sensors is designed to do just that. The smart T-shirt was developed by a consortium of 14 partners in eight European countries through the Chronius project. It was designed specifically for patients suffering Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease.
The T-shirt features heart, respiratory and activity monitoring sensors. However, its open, modular and flexible design means the combination of sensors can also be changed to meet the specific requirements of patients, including those living with more than one disorder.
The wearable part of the system is designed to work alongside external devices, such as digital weight scales, glucometers, blood pressure monitors, spirometers and even air quality sensors in the patient’s home or room. The sensors are connected to a smartphone or PDA, which then relays the information to the care provider. Finally, the patient’s data is crunched with the help of intelligent software.
If patients can be monitored remotely, they will require fewer check-ups, taking the strain off healthcare systems dealing with aging populations. Also, being connected to a remote system means that people living by themselves are connected to their caretakers through an alert system when a crisis occurs.
The project has attracted interest from healthcare providers in countries such as the US and China, as well as having caught the eye of sports organizations. These include the Italian rugby team, which would like to try the Chronius T-shirt during training in order to monitor the players’ performance. With sports teams often having more cash to splash around than a lot of healthcare providers, the sports arena is where the technology might first be used.
Source: Antonio Pasolini, GizMag.com