Scientists have developed an “intelligent” t-shirt that monitors the human body (temperature, heart rate, etc.) and locates patients within the hospital, as if it were a GPS system that works in closed spaces.
It can even determine if the subject is seated, lying down, walking or running.
“The information gathered by an intelligent t-shirt using e-textile technology is sent, without using wires, to an information management system, which then shows the patient’s location and vital signs in real time,” explained inventors at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M – Carlos III University in Madrid).
The system is designed to be used in hospitals and can be divided into two parts: the fixed infrastructure, which would be pre-installed in the hospital, and the mobile units, which would move with the patients.
The mobile units include an “intelligent t-shirt” and a localization device, which can be carried in a pocket and, which they intend to incorporate into the garment in the future.
The t-shirt is washable and includes electrodes that detect bioelectric power through which an electrocardiogram can be obtained.
In addition, it has a removable device that includes a thermometer and an accelerometer, which are used to take the patient’s temperature, his/her relative position (reclining, standing, etc.) and his/her level of physical activity.
Finally, the indoor localization unit is activated periodically, receives signals from the units that make up the fixed localization infrastructure and wirelessly sends that information to the information management system.
Once the information is received there, the localization algorithm that has been developed is able to establish the individual’s position within a two-meter margin of error, and to mark the spot on a map of the hospital.
The discovery has been published in international journals, such as the 21st Annual IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC 2010) and the IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine.