Heart rate monitors aren’t the most comfortable piece of equipment to wear for extended periods of time – which is why the Japanese telecom giant NTT has developed an undershirt without any obtrusive wires.
The shirt was announced earlier this year and made an appearance at a recent medical tech trade show in Tokyo.
In order to create an undershirt capable of measuring heart rate – NTT researchers had to experiment by coating silk and synthetic fiber surfaces with PEDOT-PSS conductive polymer.
The resulting electrode is flexible and doesn’t have to be stuck to your skin using an electrolyte paste. It’s this paste which can be a common cause of irritation – especially when it comes to the time it has to be removed.
A group of 10 volunteers wore the undershirts for an extended period of time and had their heart rates and electrocardiograms monitored successfully. NTT plans to test a further 100 people to make sure that the results can be just as effective across a larger sample.
This type of technology clearly lends itself well to various sporting arenas – a place where measuring hearts rates without interfering with performance would be a valuable asset.
It also has implications for keeping track of patients with long-term heart conditions. Instead of having to wear intrusive heart rate monitors, patients would be able to wear the undershirt like any other piece of clothing, and still provide valuable results.