Intelligent biomedical clothing enables personal healthcare
By Mike Hanlon
Based on dry-electrode technology that can be built into common items of clothing such as bras, briefs or waist belts, Philips' wireless monitoring technology continuously monitors the wearer's body signals such as the heart activity to detect abnormal health conditions. The new technology enables the development of a new category of products in the personal healthcare area.Worn continuously by the patient, the new wireless monitoring systems are capable of storing up to three months data of body signals such as heart-rate information in their 64 Mbytes of internal memory. This provides clinicians with a continuous history over an extended period of time to assist in an accurate diagnosis. Throughout this time, advanced analysis algorithms executed on the system's ultra-low power consumption Digital Signal Processor (DSP) continuously monitor and record any abnormal signal. In the event of a serious health condition being detected the system can trigger local alarms or wirelessly link with cellular or public switched telephone networks to summon immediate help. All the active electronics for an online monitoring system are incorporated into an ultra-slim module that slips into a dedicated pocket in the garment. Once this module is removed, the garment with the built-in dry electrodes can be laundered. The new online monitoring technology for personal healthcare brings together Philips' expertise in consumer electronics and medical diagnostics to create a new category of healthcare products. It also demonstrates Philips' ability to integrate electronics into clothing that is both stylish and comfortable to wear. In doing so, the new technology fits well with Philips' vision of Ambient Intelligence, in which technology disappears into the fabric of our surroundings from where it works to improve the quality of our lives and - in this case - enables personal healthcare.
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