Imagine a world where you never have to worry about uncomfortable chest straps or clunky wristbands again. Researchers at Rice University have created the next generation of health monitors, which are flexible carbon nanotube fibres that can easily be woven into clothing and serve as functional sensors for your personal well-being.
This new ‘smart thread’ conducts electrical impulses, is durable, and is even machine washable, seamlessly sewn into garments to generate a continuous electrocardiogram readout. The researchers could machine stitch the threads in zig-zag lines across a material, allowing the fabric to stretch and flex without breaking the nanotubes. This innovative new technology is not only a lifesaver for emergency responders, but also anyone who needs constant access to their heart rate. The small ingestible tags can be placed snugly against the skin under your chest and pick up readings from there as well as serve in an additional role of electrodes so you never miss out on important information again.
Electrocardiograms, also known as ECGs or EKGs, record electrical signals from the heart to check for the presence of possible heart conditions. In particular, this technique is used to diagnose conditions such as arrhythmias and coronary artery disease.
The nanotube thread’s creators say the innovation paves the way for new possibilities at the intersection of health technology and fashion.