Toronto: Researchers have created a smart T-shirt that monitors the wearer`s respiratory rate in real time and works without any wires, electrodes or sensors attached to the user`s body.
According to the researchers from Université Laval`s in Canada, the innovation paves the way for manufacturing clothes that could be used to diagnose respiratory illnesses or monitor people suffering from asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"The T-shirt is comfortable and doesn`t inhibit the subject`s natural movements. Our tests show that the data captured by the shirt is reliable," said lead researcher Younes Messaddeq in a paper published in the journal Sensors.
The smart T-shirt has an antenna sewn in at chest level that`s made of a hollow optical fibre coated with a thin layer of silver on its inner surface.
The fibre`s exterior surface is covered in a polymer that protects it against the environment.
"The antenna does double duty, sensing and transmitting the signals created by respiratory movements. The data can be sent to the user`s smartphone or a nearby computer," added Messaddeq.
To assess the durability of the invention, the researchers washed the T-shirt.
They found that after 20 washes, the antenna withstood the water and detergent and was still in good working condition.