Product design and innovation agency, Design Partners, has created Viscero, a wearable ECG monitoring vest aimed at people with abnormal heartbeats - also known as arrhythmia.
In some cases, this can be life-threatening, leading to blood clots, strokes, and heart failure. People affected need to regularly have their heart rates monitored for between 24 to 72 hours at a time.
The most used heart monitoring solution today is the Holter monitor. This device relies on taping “wet” electrodes to the chest, which are then plugged into a monitor carried by the patient in a pouch. However this means natural movement is inhibited, causing discomfort, and even impacting data veracity.
The wearable vest incorporates an ECG circuit system into the fabric of the Viscero vest, using electronic ink. As a result, the system can be worn discreetly under clothes causing no discomfort to the wearer, while results are captured via a doctor-patient dashboard.
Heart rate signals are captured via printed electrodes, situated beneath tailored compression points in the arms and waist. These maintain electrical contact between the vest and the skin, to ensure continuous, accurate data monitoring.
The “brain” of the device, meanwhile, is a small pod that has been specifically designed to sit in a small pocket on the shirt to enable further discretion. This can be easily removed for charging or washing.
“Separating the electronic and fabric elements allows for a more affordable, conventional textile printing process” said Cormac Ó Conaire, Chief Design Officer at Design Partners. “The printed electronics can last approximately 30 wash cycles, which is far better than conventional electrodes. When the vest eventually needs to be replaced, the "brain" can simply be transferred to the new garment.”
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