If you've fallen and can't get up, there are plenty of devices that can help you . . . as long as you're aware that there's a problem and ready to hit a button. But what if you’re unable to monitor your own health and reach out for help when needed? An upcoming line of smart shirts can track your vital signs and tell your caregivers how you're doing, even if you can't speak a word.
A joint project between Chunghwa Telecom, chip maker Broadcom and AiQ smart clothing, the Intelligent Sensor Shirt is filled with conductive fibers that sense the wearer's heart rate, skin temperature and breath rate and send it to a device on the sleeve. This gadget pairs with a tablet, phone or other mobile device via Bluetooth.
The mobile device sends regular alerts out to caregivers, letting them monitor your vitals. If something is wrong, the shirt can alert someone right away so you can get the help you need.
In a brief demo at their booth at Computex 2014 in Taipei, a Chunghwa representative who was wearing one of the shirts showed us how his heart rate and other vital signs displayed in a tablet app. AiQ, which makes the wearable sensor technology, offers even more sensors in some of its other products, including EEG, ECG and Body Fat readings.
Though Chunghwa showed only one style of smart shirt at its booth, company reps told us that they are planning to offer several different looks so that users have a choice of what to wear. The main module snaps in and out of a port in the shoulder so users can change shirts.
Chunghwa plans to roll out its smart shirt program in Taiwan sometime later this year. This exact program will probably not come to the U.S., but one like it seems inevitable.