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Application of intelligent textile in health monitoring field

Time : 2022-06-06 Hits : 15

Smart textiles have been widely used in health monitoring since the 1990s. Electrodes, sensors and actuators integrated into the garment can monitor or correct body conditions. With the rapid development of science and technology, the application of intelligent textiles in the field of health monitoring is more in-depth.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement

An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures electrical activity of the heart muscle from the body surface. A team of researchers led by Chemical and biomolecular engineer Matteo Pasquali, PhD, from rice University's Brown School of Engineering laboratory, has stitched a smart ELECTROcardiogram monitoring T-shirt using new washable, sewable, all-carbon nanofibers.

The T-shirt consists of sewable electrodes created from ordinary fibers and carbon nanofibers, and a signal transmission line. These electrode fibers and signal transducers are as soft as regular sewing fibers, but have metallic conductivity and low impedance. Carbon nanofibers are flexible and can be woven into textiles using a zigzag pattern that stretches with a T-shirt without breaking. The zigzag pattern can be adjusted to suit different stretches of shirts or other fabrics. At the same time, the fibers are in steady contact with the user's skin through the tight-fitting garment, collecting electrical signals from the user's body and transmitting the data to a smartphone or other device. According to the test, the intelligent ECG monitoring T-shirt is comfortable to wear and even slightly better than commercial medical ecg monitoring equipment on the market in terms of accuracy, and its performance will not be affected after repeated machine washing.


Electromyogram (EMG) measurement

Electromyography (EMG) is a measure of the electrical activity that occurs in a muscle during its contraction and relaxation cycle. Usually muscle activity is captured by three electrodes placed directly on the skin. Researchers from the University of Utah and Kyungsang National University in South Korea have developed a low-cost, easy-to-operate bioelectrical sensor that can measure EMG signals generated when muscles contract. EMG signals can be used to study muscle fatigue and recovery and further provide information for the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular diseases. Biosensors based on electronic textiles can be covered by large areas of body electrodes to obtain more accurate measurements. Initially, the researchers printed silver paste directly onto polyester/cotton blends via flat screen printing. Silver conducts electricity, making it a good material for monitoring electrical signals. However, it is toxic and can cause skin irritation after prolonged exposure. So, to take advantage of the beneficial properties of silver and solve the problems it poses, the researchers deposited a layer of gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) on the silver sheet, coating the silver particles and preventing them from touching the skin, resulting in a detector that can conduct electricity without irritating the skin. Experiments show that Au/Ag biosensor has good washing resistance.


Electroencephalogram (EEG) measurement

Electroencephalography (EEG) records the voltage difference between different parts of the scalp caused by different brain structures, with each channel connected to two electrodes. EEG electrodes can be made from a small metal plate that is attached to the scalp using a conductive electrode gel. They can be made from a variety of materials, including tin (Sn), silver/Silver chloride (Ag/AgCl), gold (Au), and platinum (Pt). Scalp electroencephalography is now routinely performed using the International 10-20 system, which consists of 19 recording electrodes and 2 reference electrodes. Except for the starting point, which is 10% away, the rest is 20%. In addition, according to the needs of different disease monitoring positions, on the basis of the 10-20 system, the 10-10 system can be obtained by extending the electrode at 10% of the position. These electrodes are usually attached to hats made of elastic fabric to ensure proper configuration.


International 10-20 system


International 10-10 system

BioSerenity's Neuronaute suit -- which includes a smart shirt and a smart hat -- is equipped with biometric biosensors that monitor the wearer's eeg, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature and activity. The data can be synced to a mobile app via Bluetooth, which aims to help diagnose and monitor epilepsy patients at home and find out what causes seizures.


Other body parameters

(1) Sweat/humidity sensor

Bodily fluids such as sweat, urine or tears can provide information about a patient's health, so they can be collected and analyzed for medical diagnosis.A team at the University of Rome II in Italy has developed a wireless, flexible skin device for monitoring pH levels in sweat. The device integrates a flat-screen printed potential sensor, integrated circuit and antenna on a polyimide (Kapton) material. The iridium dioxide film is electrodeposited on the graphite working electrode as a pH sensing layer, and the integrated circuit board can collect and store data. It has been proved that the integrated skin device can monitor the pH value of sweat in real time during running, which is consistent with the pH meter test data.


(2) Temperature sensor

The body's temperature index can sometimes forestall disease progression. On December 28, 2021, THE Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the latest statistics on the incidence and treatment of diabetes in China from 2013 to 2018. According to the survey, the prevalence of diabetes among Chinese adults rose from 10.9 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in 2018; The prevalence of prediabetes increased from 36% in 2013 to 38% in 2018. About 25% of people with diabetes will experience a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) during their lifetime. Diabetic foot ulcer is a common chronic complication of diabetes, with a high rate of disability and mortality. Early and correct prevention and treatment can save 45%~85% patients from amputation. Skin temperature assessment has been shown to reduce the risk of foot ulcers in humans.

Siren Care, a diabetes health monitoring company, has launched a smart sock(Our yarn 3075 acy/2070 polyester yarn can be used to make socks) that uses a temperature sensor to continuously monitor six key locations of a diabetic's foot to determine whether there is inflammation in the foot, and an algorithm to monitor the temperature reading and generate an alarm to monitor the condition.


The area marked by circle A contains the battery, microcontroller unit, and Bluetooth chip; B The sensors of the sole of the foot are distributed at the toe (sensor 1), the metatarsal point (sensor 2-4), the middle of the foot (sensor 5) and the heel (sensor 6).


Spontaneous and voluntary movement in infants

Scientists at the University of Helsinki have developed a smart baby jumpsuit that accurately measures spontaneous and voluntary movements in infants over seven months, thus reflecting the developmental integrity of a baby's brain network. The smart jumpsuit integrates multiple sensors to collect mobile accelerometer and gyroscope data as the baby moves, and then manually annotates the baby's posture and movement patterns based on video recordings using a new annotation scheme specifically designed to assess the overall movement patterns of a given age group. Finally, a machine learning algorithm based on deep convolutional Neural network (CNN) is trained to automatically monitor posture and motion categories using data.


(a) Motion sensors are placed at the four proximal ends of the smart jumpsuit; (b) Annotation Settings display synchronized video and motion data

(Source: Official Account of Textile Herald)

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