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Indian scientist develops fabric technology that can sense illness

Wearable have become a buzzword in health management with more and more products appearing on the scene for monitoring different health parameters. An Indian scientist associated with the University of Rhode Island has perfected a cloth that can sense illness and transmit the data to a doctor at a far off place to monitor health and if deemed necessary prescribe medicines. The latest invention will be a boon for people at distant places like the Antarctica Research Station or the farthest human outpost in space, the International Space Station.

Kunal Mankodiya, who is the director of the Biosensing Division of the University, is trying to perfect a technology to transform gloves, socks and inner wear into sophisticated but simple devices that will monitor the vital functions of the body and keep the wearer healthy and improve the standard of living.

Kunal’s research is focused on smart textiles, wearable items that have sensors, electronics, and software embedded into it. These sensors collect data from patients regardless of how remote they are from civilisation and send this data to a Doctor for analysis. He and his team have perfected hand gloves which have sensors which measure tremors and rigidity –both common symptoms of Parkinson’s syndrome.

The data is sent to neurologists through the patient’s cell phone for analysis. Thus Doctor has continuous feedback on a 24 X 7 basis to check out the efficacy of the medicines which the patient is taking. It also eliminates the need for a frequent visit to the Doctor. It helps to monitor the patient when he is in the safe confines of his home without any risk of falls or accidents.

Mankodiya is also perfecting high-tech socks for persons who have suffered from strokes. Sensors embedded in the socks transmit the data about the gait of the patient to the doctor. The socks examine the walking style and quantify the movements of the Knee and the ankle joints so that therapy for the subtle irregularities is perfected.