University of Utah’s College of Engineering researchers had made a new biosensor technology which will turn clothing fabric into biosensors that measure a muscle’s electrical activity when it is worn.
For this experiment, scientists have taken cotton/polyester blend ordinary textile and turned the fabric into sensors which can measure electrical impulses which is generated from muscle movement. But the fact is, taping sensors with wires to the skin can become ineffective, uncomfortable, expensive and costly to manufacture.
But scientists have said that, this can be used for clinical progresses in order to understand a patient’s muscle’s long-term electrical signals with more precision. This will help to measure a patient’s progress over time.
When our muscle contracts, we emit electrical signals in the form of ions. So, scientists have included a microscopic layer of silver over a piece of fabric which will make it conductive and it will receive the electrical signal from the muscle.
As a layer of silver can become toxic when it will get in touch with skin, this is why the researchers have added a microscopic layer of gold which remains non-toxic to the touch of our skin. Gold also helps to enhance the electrical signal.
Researchers say, the silver enhances the baseline conductivity, but the layer of gold upon it improves the signal and the biocompatibility. It also reduces the cost of manufacturing complete gold devices.
The silver layer is there in the fabric just as any other a graphic print onto a t-shirt. It is also only applied to the areas which touch the muscle. Then the gold layer is added through an electrochemical method. The sensors are attached to wires and a portable electromyography device that will measure muscle contractions.
The scientists have also experimented with the fabric by washing it 15 times and the effectiveness of the sensors remained unchanged.
Though the team of scientists has only applied the sensors with sleeves and socks as the sensors need to be always in touch with the skin. But scientists also think that this can be used for other skin-tight clothing such as bicycle pants or athletic tights as well.
This newly improved technology will help you to constantly monitor your health throughout the day, just like Apple watch and other devices like it.