T-shirt Monitors Heart Rate

The Vital Jacket joins textiles with microelectronics to monitor your heart rate.

The BioDevices Vital Jacket heart monitoring shirt is a pretty cool-looking t-shirt with a serious purpose; it continuously monitors your heart rate. I think that science fiction writer Rudy Rucker should get at least some credit for imagining what he called a "heartshirt" twenty years ago, in his fascinating novel "Wetware."

Here's a quote from the novel:

"Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…

"'It can feel your heartbeat … look.' Sure enough there was a big red spot on the plastic shirt just over her heart, a spot that spread out into an expanding ring that moved on over her shoulders and down to her sleeves. (Read more about the heartshirt)

The Vital Jacket serves a similar function; it is a "wearable vital signs monitoring system that joins textiles with microelectronics." The shirt was designed to be used in a variety of settings, from hospital rooms to the home, and for people on the move. The Vital Jacket provides continuous or frequent high quality vital signs monitoring.

It comes in two versions (available now): HWM100 that stores data on a SD memory card for posterior analysis in a PC and, HWM200 that allows on-line visualization using a smartphone/PDA. The device was designed for use in a "smart house for the elderly" that could monitor the occupants.

BioDevices calls their new t-shirt an "intelligent wearable garment" which actually sounds a bit creepy. I'm not sure if I'm ready for an intelligent garment - unless it was smart enough to crawl downstairs and into the washing machine...

I love the idea of a heartshirt, and I've collected quite a few real-life inventions that are pretty close, including Underwear able to detect heart problems and Bio-Shirts from Korea used to monitor athletes.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)

  • Wild Technologies: The Next Step with Richard Hart
Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.