Blog: Leonie BarrieSmart underwear could save lives

Leonie Barrie | 18 June 2010

Chemical sensors printed directly on elastic underwear waistbands

Chemical sensors printed directly on elastic underwear waistbands

Underpants that could save the lives of their wearers have been created by the University of California San Diego. Chemical sensors printed directly on elastic underwear waistbands can measure blood pressure, heart rate, and other biological markers, and could even trigger the release of life-saving drugs.

Despite stretching, folded and pulling by engineers, the printed electrodes retained their sensing abilities - making them an important new weapon in the diagnosis of battlefield injuries or changes in patients' health status.

But professor Joseph Wang, from the Department of NanoEngineering, who led the research, said: "We didn't plan to make it so sexy. Our approach is scientific. The waistband of the underwear gives you the best contact with the skin where you expect to get a good sampling of the sweat."

Sexy? That's not quite the word that springs to mind. How about "smarty-pants" instead?


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