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Sensor can be added to clothes to read heart rate

PTI
Published : Jul 9, 2016, 2:59 am IST
Updated : Jul 9, 2016, 2:59 am IST

Researchers have developed a sensor that can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly on fabrics to detect moisture, temperature, and movement, such as to read heart rate

Researchers have developed a sensor that can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly on fabrics to detect moisture, temperature, and movement, such as to read heart rate or alert you if your baby’s diaper is soiled.

Susan Bernard, owner of Textile Instruments in the US and Nasa researchers developed “SansEC,” short for “without electrical connection.” It is a sensor that functions using electromagnetic vibrations in the air. For the sensor itself, there is no need to plug it in or use batteries, researchers said.

With various embroidery techniques and a multitude of fabrics, the sensors can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly, creating a highly resonant sensor at a low cost with no additional weight, they said.

A SansEC sensor can range in size down to something small enough to become a virtually undetectable part of the fabric in clothing, bedding, or diapers, for example. Researchers have already made a prototype blanket. “We are able to detect moisture, temperature, and movement and we recently know how to interrogate the sensor to read heart rate,” said Bernard.

“It is a very simple thing — and it is so simple, it is easy to miss the power of it,” said Ken Dudley, a researcher in the Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch at Nasa’s Langley Research Centre who is involved with SansEC.

Originally developed by Nasa Langley researcher Stanley Woodard, who passed away in 2011, SansEC can simultaneously measure different physical phenomena — temperature and fluid level, for example — and functions even when badly damaged.

Location: United States, Washington