The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced that its researchers have developed a new type of lightweight sensor for the constant monitoring of biometric data – such as body temperature and heart and respiratory rates – that can be embedded into fabrics, and is machine washable.

The research was funded in part by NASA and the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, as the tech has potential applications for astronaut vital sign monitoring. However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus that has swept across the globe, there are potentially major applications in healthcare.

The sensors could be used to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, keeping them from needing to visit their physician or a hospital in a time when the healthcare systems in many regions are experiencing great strain under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You don’t need to go to the doctor or do a video call,” said Canan Dagdeviren, the LG Electronics Career Development Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. “Through this kind of data collection, I think doctors can make better assessments and help their patients in a better way.”

There has been a recent surge in remote patient monitoring solutions, with biometric technology central to many of them in the form of fitness trackers and other wearables The emergence of discrete sensors embedded in clothing could potentially have a major impact in extending the reach of this form of telehealth.

Source: TechCrunch, MIT News

April 24, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis