Scientists have developed new smart textiles that monitor and transmit wearers' biomedical information via wireless or cellular networks.
The research at the Laval University in Quebec clears a path for a host of new developments for people suffering from chronic diseases, elderly people living alone, and even firemen and police officers.
A team under the supervision of Professor Younes Messaddeq created the smart fabric by successfully superimposing multiple layers of copper, polymers, glass, and silver.
"The fibre acts as both sensor and antenna. It is durable but malleable, and can be woven with wool or cotton. And signal quality is comparable to commercial antennas," said Messaddeq, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Photonic Innovations.
The surface of the fibre can also be adjusted to monitor a range of information such as glucose levels, heart rhythm, brain activity, movements, and spatial coordinates.
A patent application has already been filed, though certain elements still need to be fine-tuned before the innovation is ready for commercialization, researchers said.
"Of course, the technology will have to be connected to a wireless network, and there is the issue of power supply to be solved," said Messaddeq.
"We have tested a number of solutions, and the results are promising. We will also have to make sure the fabric is robust, and can stand up to chemicals found in laundry detergent," Messaddeq added.

The research was published in the journal Sensors.

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