Smart Suit Doesn't Miss a Beat

Jul 03, 2007

Imagine wearing a smart T-shirt or a suit embedded with tiny electronics that can monitor your heart or respiratory function wirelessly. When dirty, you take it off and throw it in the wash or have it dry-cleaned.

Researchers from the University of South Australia have been using garment integrated electronic technology to develop smart garments that, when placed on electronic hangers, enable monitored data to be downloaded in a heartbeat to a computer in your wardrobe, and then be recharged ready for wearing.

And there’s no need to worry about your heart skipping a beat while your garment is being cleaned, according to researcher and Director of UniSA’s Wearable Computer Laboratory, Professor Bruce Thomas.

“For continuous monitoring, you can take off one garment and put on another smart garment so, instead of having just one heart monitor, you can have a wardrobe of them,” Prof Thomas said.

Prof Thomas points out that his researchers were not the first to think of this technology, but “we’re the first worldwide to develop smart garment management technology that works,” he said.

“The wardrobe has a touch screen on the outside and conductive metal bands spanning the hanging rail inside, with wires connecting it to a computer in the base of the wardrobe. When we place electronic hangers, each with their own ID and metal connection, on the rail, it detects the hangers and smart garments incorporating the conductive material and integrated electronics,” Prof Thomas said.

“Through this connection, the computer identifies, for example, that hanger 123 has coat 45 on it, which has stored heart monitoring data that needs to be downloaded and the hanger recharged,” he said.

Garments with communication technology only and a wireless connection enable users to access heart monitoring through a simple blue tooth or zigbee network, eliminating the need for expensive heart monitoring equipment to be placed in each garment.

Smart garments in the future may be used for a range of other monitoring services such as at home outpatient care and for people with dementia, enabling them to have a full life for as long as possible with a minimum level of intervention - and they can be monitored without having to learn to use a new device.

“The garments enable us to monitor people’s vital statistics and activity levels – when they get up, walk around, make breakfast and dinner, or sleep - but more importantly, we can determine if they are missing meals, fall over or stop moving. The technology can distinguish between normal and abnormal events and alert family or emergency services or, for people who live in retirement villages, alert local medical staff,” Prof Thomas said.

The smart wardrobe can also be adapted for other uses including the self diagnosis of faulty monitoring equipment; scheduling cleaning and dry-cleaning; a fashion butler to help people accessorise, colour match and select appropriate clothing for special occasions; and for preloading news, music and daily schedules into smart garments.

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Border Protection lends a hand for Super Bowl security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Integrating renewables to create smart grids

Jan 12, 2015

Imagine for a moment the idea of powering a neighborhood, a city or even an entire country with solar or wind energy alone. This scenario requires nearly flawless control over what happens in our power grids. ...

Gift Guide: Five fitness trackers offer wide range

Dec 16, 2014

There are several fitness trackers to choose from, varying in what they measure and how easy they are to use. Here are five, ranked from budget to sophisticated, to give you a sense of the range available. ...

Recommended for you

Man takes responsibility for drone over White House

14 hours ago

A small drone flying low to the ground crashed onto the White House grounds before dawn Monday, triggering a major emergency response and raising fresh questions about security at the presidential mansion. ...

Journalist linked to Anonymous gets five years' prison

Jan 22, 2015

A journalist also known as an informal spokesman for the hacker group Anonymous was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday in a case which rallied activists for press freedom, his supporters said.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.