One would have hardly imagined that the clothes one wear can provide the necessary indication for a probable illness or a disease, and that to transmit data to a doctor in a distant clinic for monitoring health and prescribing drugs. A groundbreaking research by an Indian-origin scientist at the University of Rhode Island (URI) has revealed that clothes and other wearable items could not only sense illness but transmit data to a doctor in a distant clinic for monitoring health and prescribing drugs.
The growing interest in the development of smart textiles for medical applications is driven by the aim to increase the mobility of patients who need a continuous monitoring of such physiological parameters According to Kunal Mankodiya, Director of the university’s Wearable Biosensing Laboratory, “We are in the era of game-changing technology, especially in health care”. These newly developed smart gloves are embedded with sensors on the fingers and thumb that measure tremors and rigidity — common symptoms of deadly diseases such as the Parkinson disease.
The Smart textiles are able to interact with the environment; therefore they embed one or more sensors to monitor various mechanical, thermal and chemical parameters (e.g., strain, temperature, displacement, oxygen blood saturation). Mankodiya is also working on high-tech socks for people who have suffered strokes. "The socks examine the walking stride," Mankodiya said in University of Rhode Island statement.
The Indian-origin scientist has been working on the medical smart textiles based on fiber optic technology for years as part of their research on the Internet of Things (IoT) - a framework to automate human interactions with Cloud computing. Other projects of his team focus on developing tools to image, sense and record brain function to treat Parkinson's, as well as other neurological diseases, like epilepsy.
Born in India, Mankodiya received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Saurashtra University and his doctorate in computer science from the University of Luebeck in Germany. He did post-doctorate research at Carnegie Mellon University and joined URI in 2014.