The sport's bra that can tell your doctor if you're having a heart attack (and where to send the ambulance)
The system can take the same readings as an ECG and tell if a patient is having a heart attack
16:07 GMT, 4 May 2012
The e-bra could be used to monitor female patients with heart problems as well as athletes
Scientists have created an 'e-bra' that could help doctors monitor sick female patients anywhere in the world.
The bra has integrated sensors that measures vital health signals and uploads the information to a wireless network such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which the patient and their doctor can then access.
It was developed by a team of
engineers at the University of Arkansas who combined nanotextiles and
smartphone technology. They also created an e-vest for male patients.
Researcher Vijay Varadan said: 'Our e-bra enables continuous, real-time monitoring to identify any pathophysiological changes.
'It is a platform on which various
sensors for cardiac-health monitoring are integrated into the fabric.
The garment collects and transmits vital health signals to any desired
location in the world.'
The system monitors blood pressure, body
temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption and some neural activity.
It also takes the same readings as a conventional electrocardiograph
(ECG), and so can even tell if a patient is having a heart attack.
The system doesn't require a cuff or
any extra accessories to measure blood pressure and could therefore
replace conventional blood-pressure monitors.
The bra and vest have bendy sensors woven into the fabric that are stored on a wireless module which then sends it to a mobile or computer
It could also replace the
cumbersome combination of ECG sensors and wires attached to patients
while they walk on treadmills.
The sensors are smaller than a 5p or dime and are made of arrays of gold nano-electrodes fabricated on to a flexible base, they are woven in to the bra material. They communicate with system software via a wireless module that snaps on to the bra. This collects and compresses the information before sending it over a network to a secure database, that doctors can then access.
Electronic engineer: Vijay Varadan said the bra could provide continuous real-time health monitoring
The data can be viewed on one screen or separate windows for each measurement. The software includes GPS that can track the patient anywhere in the world.
The researchers say they expect to reduce the size of the current module to a box 1.5in long, 0.7in wide and 0.25in deep.
The team said the sports bra could also be used by athletes to monitor their own vitals during exercise sessions via their mobile phones.
The system can also be programmed to send emergency messages, via voice or text messaging, if it detects extreme or abnormal conditions.
Mr Varadan is yet to publish his e-bra findings but results from the sensor system have been published in the Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine.