Imec and Holst Centre are demonstrating what is claimed to be the most advanced smart garment to date at the imec Technology Forum in Brussels. The smart t-shirt features an electrocardiogram and motion sensing which monitors data such as the wearer's heart rate, activities performed and energy expenditure. The information is stored on the cloud and can be accessed via mobile devices or a PC.
"Smart garments have the ability to tackle a vast range of applications from fitness tracking and healthcare monitoring to safety applications. Today, on-body sensing is performed using very tight, compression garments. At imec and Holst Centre, we want to extend the functionality of smart garments and deliver medical-grade data through looser, everyday clothes," said Ruben de Francisco, programme manager, wearable health solutions, at imec and Holst Centre.
The t-shirt features flexible smart fabric interconnect technology and miniaturised electronics integrated into a module measuring 15 x 20 x 2mm and containing imec's multi-sensor data acquisition chip with embedded processing, a battery and a Bluetooth Low Energy radio chip. The module weighs 7g, and can be removed to wash the shirt or charge the battery.
"Our smart t-shirt offers the perfect platform to integrate additional capabilities such as breathing rate measurements and dehydration monitoring. And we are exploring ways to extend the functionality and feedback of the data to wearers. This can be done by integrating simple LED indicators, actuators for haptic feedback or, in the longer term, smart display technologies," added Jeroen van den Brand, program manager Integration Technologies for Flexible Systems at imec and Holst Centre.