Revolutionary Billion Dollar Textile Concept
"New Uses for Wearable Textile-Based Health Monitoring Technology" encompasses wearable health monitoring systems which employ sensors to interpret key signs from the human body such as; heart rate, temperature and blood pressure. These revolutionary textile based sensors can be physically woven or knitted into any garment expected to be worn in direct contact with the skin. The data received can be distributed via an electronic device where it is registered and used to provide wearers with bio feedback.
Wearable health monitoring systems originated from use in the astrophysics field to check on the health of astronauts and transmitting recorded information to stations on earth. A more recent development for the use of this textile technology has been taken to hospitals and other areas in the medical sector to monitor the health of patients.
One company excelling beyond all competitors in the wearable health monitoring market, based in USA is Textronics consisting of four main product families: Textro sensors or conductive fabric electrodes and motion sensors: Textro Interconnect laminate wiring cable; Textro yarn elastic conductive fibre; and Textro Polymer variable resistive polymer. The company launched its first product of the NuMetrex branded sports bra and has expanded its range to a menswear NuMetrex Cardio shirt and the Numetrex racer tank for women. In recent times, the Heart Smart apparel was created to transition into the healthcare market via sportswear. Consumer target markets include victims of obesity focusing on reducing their weight and cardio patients. Textronics has also introduced a developer's kit containing all the parts necessitated to construct a wearable health monitoring system which comprises of textile sensors, (approved by USA based Food and Drug Administration: FDA) opposed to the adhesive electrodes and metal wristbands frequently used with electrocardiograph (EEG) instruments.
Predictions reported by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) suggest that sales of smart fabrics and interactive textiles (SFIT) for sensing and monitoring will increase by 49.3% p.a. from 2006 and 2010. NPD Group forecasts interactive apparel is dead cert billion dollar business ready to take off. Promising field may include corporate wellness, fitness, lifestyle health, medical health care, facilitation of independent living by the elderly, military uses and sports. Ambitious future prospects may look into clothing of a more advanced nature reading personal emotions of wearers to feature in computer games.
Another futuristic concept is that of eliminating doctor's surgeries where patients can access medical healthcare and advice via television or other electronic transmitters. With so many avenues to expand and explore; this revolutionary idea sets an extremely positive outlook however the apparel industry is somewhat hard to break into therefore having to ensure comfort, easy caring, reliability, ease of use and price are all considered to achieve mass acceptance of the consumer market.