Clever Clothing: Smart Hospital Shirt Monitors Vital Signs

One of the scariest parts of being in the hospital has to be all of the machines and cables that you get hooked up to. You’re tethered to the bed thanks to all of those cords, which of course just makes the situation worse because you’re totally unable to even get out of bed by yourself. A team at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain have developed a “smart shirt” that could be used in hospitals to monitor patients, no scary forest of cords and cables needed.

The shirt contains sensors which can be used to monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. It can even be remotely programmed to perform an EKG, freeing up staff from having to go to a patient’s room to perform the test. The vital signs and test results are sent over a wireless connection to a staff command center where nurses can keep track of all of their patients at once.

Because the smart shirt will almost be an invitation for patients to wander off, it also comes equipped with GPS. And if a patient is out for an innocent walk and suffers a fall, heart attack or other medical problem, staff can find him quickly. The smart shirt includes an accelerometer so that nurses and doctors can tell if the patient is walking, sitting, standing up or lying down (like after a fall) before they get to him.

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See more in Industrial Design or under Technology. October, 2011.