A team from the University of Arkansas has developed a series of textile sensors in nanostructures that can be placed in a bra or vest to monitor the health status of patients wherever they are.

The surveillance system wirelessly communicates information about the patient in real time to a doctor, hospital or the patient. Through a light module and wireless sensors communicate with a software that receives the data inside a smartphone, compresses them and sends them to a variety of wireless networks.

“Our e-bra (electronic bra) allows continuous monitoring and real-time to identify any pathophysiological change,” said in a statement the electrical engineering professor Vijay Varadan. ”It is a platform upon which are integrated on-screen multiple sensors to monitor heart health,” said Varadan. ”The clothing captures and transmits the vital signs anywhere in the world.”

The system observes blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, some neural activities and all readings are obtained with the conventional electrocardiogram, including the ability to show the T-wave assaults that indicate the beginning of a cardiac arrest.

The system requires no additional equipment for measuring the blood pressure and therefore can replace the conventional pressure monitors. The sensor, smaller than a coin, including gold thread and textile nanosensors and flexible conductors of electrical current. The sensors are made of gold nanoelectrodes settings.

The inventors explained that the electrical signals and physiological data captured by the sensors are sent to the wireless module contained in a small plastic box. The module, which is the critical component in the wireless system is basically a computer with low power consumption, which includes an amplifier, an antenna, a printed circuit card, a microprocessor, a Bluetooth module, a battery and various sensors.

The size of the module depends on the energy consumption and minimum size of your battery. Varadan said expected improvements in batteries and Bluetooth will allow researchers to build a module even smaller, less than 4 cm long and 2 cm wide and 6 mm thick, to replace the rigid housing.

The data obtained by the sensors are then transmitted to the phones and other portable devices available on the commercial market.