In typical cases, monitoring a patient's vital signs involves hooking them up to a variety of sensors, all of which end up inhibiting the patient's mobility and causing a tangle of wires. Such isn't the case with wearable sensors developed by researchers at the Liverpool John Moores University, however, who have received a patent for wireless sensors that can be woven into clothing.
The sensors appear to be a bit smaller than one's thumb, and are designed to be woven into clothing, making it so that not only are the sensors not required to be attached to the patient's body, but aren't even visible. The sensitivity of the wearable technology is said to be high enough that it can sense a variety of vital signs, such as blood oxygen levels, from such a position.
The information picked up by the sensors is then transmitted to a receiving device in real time wirelessly, with the range said to be "many meters". One such use for the sensors, the researchers pointed out, was integration into hospital bracelets, allowing medical staff to monitor things like heart rate in real time without any intrusion or hassle.
The application is not limited to medical use, however, and can also be applied in other fields were the real-time monitoring of body stats is needed, including recreational efforts. Perhaps its biggest advantage is the reduction in costs for hospitals and related facilities, and the opportunities it provides for better access to patient data.
Said the inventor behind the technology, Ahmed Al-Shamma: "While we are still in the early stages of development, the range of potential applications for this wearable sensor technology is immense, not just in the health care sector but also in sporting and military applications."