Researchers at a univestiry in Texas, US have developed a “smart shirt” that is said to be able to measure users’ heart rate effectively and accurately. Rice University’s researchers have created an athletic shirt with conductive carbon nanotube fibres. The scientists say that the nanotube fibres are sewn into the shit and are successfully able to take a continous electrocardiogram (ECG) of the wearer. The fibres were turned into sweable threads that in turn function as conductive as metal wires. The study was headed by a Rice University graduate student Lauren Taylor, who said that the shirt has to be snug from the chest in order to function properly.
Taylor, in a press release said that the researchers will focus on using denser patches of carbon nanotube threads in the future so that there’s more surface area to contact the skin. The research paper from the Rice University researchers was published in an American Chemical Society journal named Nano Letters on August 30. Taylor said that there is a zigzag pattern on the shirt that can be adjusted and can be suited to the strechability of a fabric.
As the data gathered depends on the shirt’s contact with skin, researchers are currently working with a team at the Texas Heart Institute to maximise the surface area of the clothing to enhance touch with the skin. They said that the fibres are machine washable, soft, and flexible due to the zigzag stitching pattern.
The researchers also compared the data gathered by the shirt with a standard chest strap monitors and commercial medical electrode monitors during live experiments. The ECG results were found to be better with the carbon nanotube shirt.