Heart rate monitors and fitness trackers are able to track your heart rate but you have to remember to put on the devices. These stand alone heart rate monitors might become a thing of the past now that scientists have developed fibers that can be woven into clothing and used as sensors.  

The newly developed polymer optical fibers are flexible and can be woven into clothing. The sensors in the fibers can track your heart rate when it comes in contact with bare skin. Scientists created the fibers by melting and spinning a polymer that transmits light-based data with a polymer that is a coating. The greatest part? The fibers are machine washable.

A heart rate monitor embedded in clothing could be an exciting tool for use in hospitals. Having a sensor-equipped hospital gown can monitor a patient’s vitals without causing them pain. While this technology may make its first appearance in the medical field, it could eventually end up in your closet as part of the consumer electronics landscape.

Image: Empa

Written by IEEE on July 10, 2017