Intelligent T-shirts track vital signs

Posted by Kate Taylor

Scientists at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed an 'intelligent' T-shirt that monitors people's vital signs and tracks their position.

The T-shirt contains sensors which detect a patient's temperature, heart rate and other functions. It also monitors their location within a hospital and can even determine if the subject is seated, lying down, walking or running.

It sends this information wirelessly to an information management system, which  stores the information for later analysis, for example monitoring how a particular patient’s level of physical activity affects the quality of the electrocardiogram.

With slight modifications, says the team, the prototype could also be used for early diagnosis of cardiac anomalies in athletes. It could also work as a telemedicine appication, monitoring patients in their homes and reducing the time they need to spend in hospital.

The program has a series of alarms, configured by default, which are activated when the measured parameters exceed pre-established limits - such as 38 degrees C body temperature or 100 heartbeats per minute, for example.

"All of these alarms can be modified by the doctors in order to adjust them to the specific needs of each patient," explain the developers.

"Whenever any one of these alarms goes off, a message will appear on the screen and, it can also send an SMS alerting the doctor in charge or the proper hospital personnel who, at that moment, is closest to the patient in question."