Use of tiny fibers for emerging wearable technology can help track vital signs, finds research

It might be just a few years from reality a pair of socks that tracks cholesterol or a shirt that monitors blood pressure.

In a recent study, researchers investigate the use of microfibers and minute nanofibers as wearable monitors that could keep track of vital signs of patients. Such an initiative if comes to fruition, it will address the growing concerns in the medical fraternity about monitoring of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, asthma, and obesity as the age of population increases.

“Therefore, in this scenario, the demand for a personalized healthcare system is escalating. A system which serves the rapidly growing demand to detect bio-signals of users at any given time and location,” said the first author of the study.

Wearable Fibers feature high sensitivity

Interestingly, the wearable fibers are flexible and highly sensitive. They can be used to gauge heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, sleep quality, oxygen levels, and other vital signs. And, because the wearable fibers are small in size, they can be directly applied on the skin or woven into garments such as socks, shirts, wristband, and neckwear.

The possibilities if use of wearable fibers are several, it could be watches, tattoos, face mask, or a handkerchief. They just need to be in contact with the skin to start giving data.

In fact, piezoelectric sensors, are one of the most promising nanofiber technologies, said one of the authors of the study. Powered by mechanical energy, these sensors are ready to be available in the market in less than three years.

And, other technologies based on wearable nanofibers may be ready for public use anywhere between five and eight years.