'Sensor can be added to your clothes to read heart rate'

'Sensor can be added to your clothes to read heart rate'

'Sensor can be added to your clothes to read heart rate'

Researchers have developed a sensor that can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly on fabrics to detect moisture, temperature, and movement, such as to read heart rate or alert you if your baby's diaper is soiled.

Susan Bernard, owner of Textile Instruments in the US and NASA researchers developed "SansEC," short for "without electrical connection."

It is a sensor that functions using electromagnetic vibrations in the air. For the sensor itself, there is no need to plug it in or use batteries, researchers said.

With various embroidery techniques and a multitude of fabrics, the sensors can be virtually added to existing materials, uniforms or weaved directly, creating a highly resonant sensor at a low cost with no additional weight, they said.

A SansEC sensor can range in size down to something small enough to become a virtually undetectable part of the fabric in clothing, bedding, or diapers, for example.
Researchers have already made a prototype blanket.

"We are able to detect moisture, temperature, and movement and we recently know how to interrogate the sensor to read heart rate," said Bernard.

"It is a very simple thing - and it is so simple, it is easy to miss the power of it," said Ken Dudley, a researcher in the Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch at NASA's Langley Research Centre who is involved with SansEC.

Originally developed by NASA Langley researcher Stanley Woodard, who passed away in 2011, SansEC can simultaneously measure different physical phenomena - temperature and fluid level, for example - and functions even when badly damaged.

A remote antenna "interrogates" the sensor and collects the measurements.
Other possible uses of sensors are in pipelines or wells - they could be used to test for water levels, iron or salinity, blockages, leaks or pipe integrity, researchers said.

They could also be used for home security - sensors could be placed in the floors to provide motion detection.

In sidewalks, driveways and parking lots, sensors could monitor ice and snow accumulation or be used for safety and security.

Sensors could also be used for food safety - they could detect spoilt milk, meats, and more, researchers said.

In tires, sensors could monitor for punctures, temperature, rotation rate or wear, they said.

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