Wearable Technology IV. WearableTextiles

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from: Longevity Explorers | Providence

Discussion Summary

Wearable Technology IV. Wearable e-Textiles by Longevity Explorers: Recent @ Providence

Continuing his presentation on the ways in which research can inform the development of health applications for wearable technology, Prof. Mandokiya described the work of his own Wearable Sensing Lab at the University of Rhode Island, with its focus on wearable e-textiles for telemedicine.

Collaborating with physicians to find ways to assess Parkinsons symptoms, Prof Mandokiya had already found that smart watches would not be sensitive enough, at least in their current level of development.

He reached out to fabric designers for help with the design of "smart gloves" to monitor tremors. "Engineers have no expertise for stitching," he laughed as he showed a picture of an early glove pattern that looked pretty clumsy, followed by a much sleeker model designed by his collaborators.

The glove has been promising for allowing physicians to monitor symptoms, using standard testing procedures, and adjust medication with fewer face-to-face meetings in clinical settings required.  Liability issues continue to be a concern, but success at generating grant suppport makes the future look more positive.  New work with insoles with sensors to monitor cerebral palsy and diabetic symptoms is now under way.  

In response to a question, Prof. Mandokiya clarified that his work has all been directed at the diagnostic side, rather than applications to actually affect behavior.  He gave the example of a "smart spoon" designed to compenste for tremors as something that is now out there as an application of "soft robotics"  The diagnostic and monitoring functions of his e-textiles still do have great value for clincians and patients as they try to make treatments for movement disorders most effective, and slow the progression of the disorders. 



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Key words: 
wearable e-textiles, monitoring movement disorder symptoms