The term “wearables” isn’t new to the PERS industry, but phrases like “textile computing” and “e-Textiles” might not be as familiar to most people. The market for wearable, health-tracking devices is expanding with new possibilities and exciting developments in textiles could be the future of the PERS industry. Now, solutions for independent living for seniors and individuals with health problems may just be in the clothing they wear.
Clothing That Monitors Your Health
What’s being called the world’s first cuffless blood pressure monitoring technology was unveiled at CES last week. The company who makes it, SKINN, is said to make use of sensor and actuator technology right inside the fabric of a machine-washable polo shirt.
This smart shirt is designed with two specific goals in mind: (1) to take the hassle out of regular blood pressure monitoring, and (2) to track, analyze, and share data trends with the wearer’s clinicians. The SKIIN Smart Shirt along with SKIIN Smart Underwear (designed for heart health detection) is set to be released this year.
Myant, the company behind SKIIN, also announced other exciting e-textile developments on the horizons, including slip and fall detection, driver fatigue monitoring, ovulation tracking, and a suite of chemical sensing markers. Each one delivering boundless new opportunities for tomorrow's marketplace.
Tony Chahine, CEO and founder of Myant Inc., states that "Myant's vision is to build a new platform for human-computer interaction that helps individuals manage and anticipate their health and wellness 24 hours a day, across all life stages." He adds, "The addition of cuffless blood pressure monitoring to our SKIIN Textile Computing platform is a major step forward in empowering continuous monitoring in a comfortable garment."
Image Credit: Knitting Trade Journal
“Knitting the Future”
Myant was founded in 2010 with the aim of developing textile-based platforms to help users proactively manage their health. The team behind their textile computing products is made up of scientists, doctors, engineers, and designers from all around the world. Myant is dedicated to making their wearable devices accessible, stating that their mission is “to transform and improve the health, wellness and overall quality of life for millions if not more.”
The Future of e-Textiles
There is no doubt that the health monitoring industry, including the PERS industry, is in need of advancements—particularly when it comes to the usability and aesthetics of these products. We’ve stressed the need for improvement in fall detection technology and well as the “90’s printer” style of PERS products before. If the technology behind e-textiles like SKIIN measures up, it could seriously change the game for health monitoring.
“There are lots of opportunities in healthcare development, especially textiles," said Luciano Boesel, group leader for adaptive textiles and hydrogels at Swiss research house Empa. "The need for long-term, unobtrusive monitoring of risk patients at home will stimulate quick development. In five years' time, I believe we'll get to see many innovative textile solutions in healthcare."