Scientists at Université Laval’s Faculty of Science and Engineering and Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers have developed smart textiles that can monitor and transmit biomedical information of the wearer through cellular networks. Hopefully, this breakthrough could be of service for people suffering from chronic diseases, elderly people, and even those who are in active services.
Supervised by Professor Younès Messaddeq, the researchers created the smart fabric by adding thin layers of copper, polymers, glass and silver incorporated with conductor elements of the textiles embedded within the fibers themselves. This provides electrical and chemical shielding against the environment, while preserving the mechanical and cosmetic properties of the garments.
This is what the smart fabric looks like; the fiber is durable but malleable and can be woven easily like any other textiles.
According to Professor Messaddeq, the fiber acts as both sensor and antenna and it can communicate through 2.4 GHz wireless networks with signal is no less compared to commercial antenna. It can also monitor a range of information such as glucose levels, heart rhythm, brain activity, movements, and spatial coordinates.
The creators have already filed a patent for this product although certain elements still need to be modified before commercializing.
“Of course, the technology will have to be connected to a wireless network, and there is the issue of power supply to be solved,” says Professor Messaddeq, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Photonic Innovations
“We have tested a number of solutions, and the results are promising. We will also have to make sure the fabric is robust, and can stand up to chemicals found in laundry detergent.”