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Smart Clothes for Diagnosis and Treatment

Acreo Swedish ICT is participating in the ongoing development of fabric-based sensors that can measure respiration, heart rate and movements – enabling the creation of smart clothes with smart electronic capabilities. Patients suffering from epilepsy or Parkinson's disease, as well as people affected by stroke can be examined in their home environment with the help of this technology.

Approximately 60,000 people in Sweden have epilepsy - the most common chronic neurological disease. Approximately 20,000 suffer from Parkinson's. In addition, 18,000 people are affected by stroke each year. These groups of patients are the focus of the project Wearable Sensors in Smart Textiles. The project will develop comfortable, smart garments with built-in sensor systems for use in everyday life.

The project is being led by the Sahlgrenska Academy, with the participation of Acreo Swedish ICT, The Swedish School of Textiles and Swerea IVF. The goal is to simplify and improve diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, and in turn improve quality of life for patients and cut treatment costs for the health care system.

“We are committed to improving diagnosis and to being able to take measurements outside of the hospital environment. With smart clothes, we can measure patient progress in their home, over longer periods of time,” explains Kristina Malmgren, project manager, Sahlgrenska Academy.

Acreo is responsible for developing some of the sensor systems that will be integrated into the garment, which measure movements, heart rate, oxygen saturation in the blood and blood pressure.

“The garments will be used in everyday life. The sensors should not be visible, but at the same time they must provide relevant information to the doctor and patient,” says Jan Wipenmyr, Project Manager at Acreo Swedish ICT.

For the Swedish School of Textiles, the challenge is to create textiles with integrated sensors that can be worn as comfortable clothing. The sensors must be located in the right place for taking patient measurements and the garments must be washable. Various techniques to integrate the technology into textiles will be examined - for example, smart fibers, textile sensors "on a roll" that can be sewn in, or digital printing on fabric.

“We are learning a lot from each other on this project,” emphasizes Anja Lund, researcher at School of Textiles. We know textiles; Sahlgrenska knows what smart textiles can be used for and Acreo Swedish ICT contributes with knowledge of sensor systems.

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research is funding the project with 28 MSEK over five years.

Expertise: Sensor Systems; MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)

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