U.S. scientists design smart underpants that could save lives

Wed Jun 9, 2010 11:48pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

SAN DIEGO (Reuters Life!) - A team of U.S. scientists has designed some new men's briefs that may be comfortable, durable and even stylish but, unlike most underpants, may be able to save lives.

Printed on the waistband and in constant contact with the skin is an electronic biosensor, designed to measure blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs.

The technology, developed by nano-engineering professor Joseph Wang of University of California San Diego and his team, breaks new ground in the field of intelligent textiles and is part of shift in focus in healthcare from hospital-based treatment to home-based management.

The method is similar to conventional screen-printing although the ink contains carbon electrodes.

The project is being funded by the U.S. military with American troops likely to be the first recipients.

"This specific project involves monitoring the injury of soldiers during battlefield surgery and the goal is to develop minimally invasive sensors that can locate, in the field, and identify the type of injury," Wang told Reuters Television.

Ultimately, the biosensor that detects an injury will also be able to direct the release of drugs to relieve pain and even treat the wound.

But the technology's range of application goes beyond the military.

"We envision all the trend of personalized medicine for remote monitoring of the elderly at home, monitoring a wide range of biomedical markers, like cardiac markers, alerting for any potential stroke, diabetic changes and other changes related to other biomedical scenario," said Wang.   Continued...