January 2, 2013

Wearable Technology Can Monitor Rehabilitation

This technology is happening and will be second nature to many of us in the near future – if the Food and Drug Administration does not get in the way. I will admit when I first read the short article, I had to laugh at the way it looks on a person, but manufacturers may change this as they perfect the fit and work on the design.

I can envision many other types of outfits that could be designed for recording information from the human body and some of them could be fashioned for undergarments. Until TSA is mandated or given an order to take a doctor's written notice, I can imagine their strip searching patients wearing anything like this when traveling.

Neurorehabilitation researchers from Italy have developed a low cost, wearable system, consisting of strain sensors made of conductive elastomers printed onto fabric. (Credit: Paolo Tormene)

A low voltage battery powers the sensors. This enables sending data to a computer via a Bluetooth device. The device was tested in a healthy person and used to collect a comprehensive set of over 600 movements, at varying speeds and number of repetitions, over a range of movements. In the study, a wireless inertial sensor (MEMS) using triaxial accelerometers and magnetometers confirmed the accuracy of the results and were accurately able to measure movement.

It is understandable that the system is not designed for high precision, but for ease of use, to be inexpensive, and an aid in the development of portable, remote monitoring of rehabilitation. Now it will be very interesting to see what is developed next for monitoring other health problems and if this is usable for monitoring some chronic diseases.

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