A research team at University of Massachusetts, Amherst have developed physiological sensing textiles that are embedded with unobtrusive, portable devices for monitoring heart rate and respiratory rhythm during sleep. These textiles can be woven into sleepwear garments such as pyjamas, which the scientists have named ‘Phyjamas’.
This health monitoring sleepwear was launched at the Ubicomp 2019 conference in London by the graduate students Ali Kiaghadi and S. Zohreh Homayounfar, with their professors Trisha L. Andrew, a materials chemist and computer scientist Deepak Ganesan.
According to researchers, sleepwear is worn loosely but there are several parts of the garments that are pressed against the body due to our posture and contact with external surfaces. These are potential locations where ballistic movements caused by heartbeats and breathing can be measured.
Andrew, Ganesan and their colleagues claim that their team designed a new fabric based pressure sensor and combined that with triboelectric sensor, which is activated by a change in physical contact and developed a distributed sensor suite that could be integrated into loose-fitting clothing like pyjamas. They also developed data analytics to fuse signals from many points to maintain quality of signals coming in from each location.
Peter Reinhart, Director at Umass Amherst’s Institute of Applied Life Sciences mentioned that it is exciting to see the next generation of wearable technology that is zero effort and addresses the issue of comfort and unobtrusiveness head-on. The data generated by fabric based sensors has the potential to improve health and well-being and could possibly contribute to the early diagnosis of multiple disorders, adds Reinhart.