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Gizmorama - May 24, 2017

Good Morning,

It seems like there are so many different kinds of T-shirts these days. Now, there's a new one that has been developed which has the unique ability to monitor the wearers breathing rate. Cool!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- Scientists create T-shirt that monitors breathing rates --*

Researchers at Universite Laval in Quebec have developed a smart T-shirt that is capable of monitoring the wearer's respiratory rate in real time.

The smart T-shirt works without wires, electrodes or sensors attached to the body, instead using an antenna sewn into the shirt at chest level made of hollow optical fiber coated with a thin layer of silver on its inner surface.

"The antenna does double duty, sensing and transmitting the signals created by respiratory movements," Younes Messaddeq, professor at Universite Laval, said in a press release. "The data can be sent to the user's smartphone or a nearby computer."

The T-shirt works when a wearer inhales, the smart fiber senses the increase in both thorax circumference and the volume of air in the lungs.

"These changes modify some of the resonant frequency of the antenna," Messaddeq said. "That's why the T-shirt doesn't need to be tight or in direct contact with the wearer's skin. The oscillations that occur with each breath are enough for the fiber to sense the user's respiratory rate."

The optical fiber covering the antenna is covered in a polymer that protects it against the environment, with researchers tested the durability by washing the shirt numerous times.

"After 20 washes, the antenna had withstood the water and detergent and was still in good working condition," Messaddeq said. "The T-shirt is really comfortable and doesn't inhibit the subject's natural movements. Our tests show that the data captured by the shirt is reliable, whether the user is lying down, sitting, standing or moving around."

Researchers said the smart T-shirt could pave the way for manufacturing of clothing that could be used to diagnose respiratory illnesses or monitor people with asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The study was published in the journal Sensors.

*-- Wearable device helps predict flu outbreaks faster --*

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have developed a wearable device that can predict seasonal influenza outbreaks faster than conventional methods.

The Thermia online health educational tool works as a standalone digital application or can receive a child's temperature reading directly through the iThermonitor, an FDA-approved, patch-like wearable thermometer worn under the arm.

Researchers tested the device in China where the iThermonitor's manufacturer, Railing Medical Inc., is located.

"The fact that we were able to predict influenza outbreaks faster than China's national surveillance programs really shows the capacity for everyday, wearable digital health devices to track the spread of disease at the population level," Yulin Hswen, a research fellow in Boston Children's Computational Epidemiology Group, said in a press release.

Researchers analyzed data collected from nearly 45,000 data points from China's Thermia users between 2014 and 2016 and found outbreaks of "influenza-like illnesses," were detected in real time.

The information collected from the Thermia and iThermonitor devices showed influenza outbreaks a month earlier than data collected from the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China.

"Delays in clinically-reported data and lack of data availability contribute to the challenges of identifying outbreaks rapidly," John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital and director of the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the hospital's Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator, or IDHA, said. "As a result, we have more and more opportunities to use real-time, low-cost digital solutions like Thermia to improve disease surveillance."

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.


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