This smart shirt with printed electronics monitors your health!

Most health monitors are rather uncomfortable and bulky to wear. To make them more comfortable for the patient or athlete, Holst Centre and designed a smart shirt with printed electronics that monitors key vitals signs, which you can see in real life at Material Xperience 2018 (click here for a free ticket)!

The shirt is designed for medical and fitness applications. Researchers from the Holst Centre, an open innovation initiative by imec and TNO, developed a prototype of the smart shirt that integrates imec’s medical grade electrocardiogram (ECG), monitoring with breathing rate and breathing depth.

The use of printed electronics technology provides design freedom. The printed sensors are only 60 µm thick and up to 100% stretchable. The properties of the electronics thereby become similar to those of textile, allowing unobtrusive integration.

Unlike existing heart monitoring clothing, Holst Centre’s smart shirt uses compact and distinct dry electrodes rather than a chest band, making it more comfortable to wear. These electrodes are produced using screen-printable, electrically conductive inks from DuPont, which allows their shape to be optimized for maximum skin contact for strong signal resolution and monitoring performance.

The shirt can operate for up to two days on a single battery charge because of the low-power sensor and radio electronics. The mechanical properties and encapsulation are engineered for reliability in the laundry process. With Holst Centre technology a washability of 25 cycles in domestic laundry can be achieved thereby complying with market requirements.

The developers say the shirt could help to get patients home from hospital sooner by enabling high-quality cardiac monitoring at home and could replace Holter monitors. Moreover, the design of the shirt and its electronics can be easily tailored for best electrode contact to skin. This is important to further suppress motion artefacts which are depending for instance on the type of movements typical in different sports. Printed electronics allow maximising performance of both electronics and thereby the users for specific athletic and fitness applications.

Aside from seeing the shirt at Material Xperience, you can also listen to a lecture by Marina Toeters from, the Fashion & Workwear ambassador, about innovations in the world of fashion. For the full speaker programme, click here.

Photos: Holst Centre