QUEBEC CITY – Researchers at Université Laval’s Faculty of Science and Engineering and its Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers have created a smart t-shirt that monitors the wearer’s respiratory rate in real time, paving the way for clothing that could be used to diagnose respiratory illnesses or monitor people suffering from asthma, sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The shirt works without any wires, electrodes or sensors attached to the user’s body. “Our tests show that the data captured by the shirt is reliable, whether the user is lying down, sitting, standing or moving around,” said Younés Messaddeq, the professor who led the team that developed the technology, in a statement. The key to the technology is an antenna, sewn into the shirt at chest level, that’s made of a hollow optical fiber coated with a thin layer of silver on its inner surface. The fiber’s exterior surface is covered in a polymer that protects it against the environment. The antenna senses and transmits the signals created by respiratory movements and the data can be sent to the user’s smartphone or a nearby computer.
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