Comfortable Biosensor Fabric could be the Future of Wearable Diagnostics

When someone pictures biosensors, they usually name the obvious ones, heart monitors, fitness equipment, blood glucose sensors. However, as technology has evolved so has the use of biosensors. A team at the University of Utah’s College of engineering has created a wearable biosensor fabric that can be built into clothing. While innovations like this have been created in the past, they are expensive to produce, an obstacle this study hopes to overcome.  

The fabric picks up electrical signals being sent along the nervous system between the brain and muscles. The brain releases electrical signals to the muscles as tiny impulses traveling through pathways telling them what to do. The old-fashioned way to monitor these signals is with uncomfortable wires and electrodes attached to specific areas of the body. This new technology eliminates the need for those. The fabric integrates a thin layer of silver to act as a conductive medium between the fabric and sensors. In considering this, the team devised a way to make the entire process non-toxic by avoiding skin-to-skin contact with harmful materials or chemicals. Thin layers of gold and silver metal work together to detect and conduct readings, the silver layer acting as the conduit and the gold being a protective layer and ensures the readings come through clearly and distinctly. 

Researchers are hopeful that the fabric can be utilized in things like T-shirts, sweaters, sweatpants, and more. The material has proven to be machine washable, lasting through several cycles with no issues. In the end this could be a massive breakthrough in creating comfortable diagnostic devices for the treatment of physical and possibly mental health issues. 

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