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Smart Fabrics Monitor Patient Health
Researchers at Drexel University are developing clothing with conductive fibers, which can detect medical conditions and transmit data via RFID.
Aug 26, 2014—
When a woman in labor arrives at a hospital, one of the first things caregivers do is hook her up to a tocodynamometer, a device that monitors the timing and severity of uterine contractions, by placing electrodes on her belly. But the electrodes and the wires connected to them can be annoying for a woman experiencing contractions.
A more comfortable monitoring device could be an RFID-enabled bellyband, which fits around a woman's midsection. It has no electrodes or wires—just smart fabric.Drexel University, including Kapil Dandekar, Adam Fontecchio and Timothy Kurzweg, electrical engineering professors in the College of Engineering; Genevieve Dion, a fashion design professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and director of the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory; and Owen Montgomery, M.D., head of obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Medicine.
The team knit an RFID antenna with a combination of conductive and nonconductive threads and created a little pocket for a Murata MagicStrap ultrahigh-frequency chip. The chip has pads that inductively couple with the knit antenna, creating a working passive RFID transponder that can wirelessly transmit data to a reader.
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