Smart textiles and wearable medical devices are becoming more commercialized and attainable as medical home health solutions, and the technology diversifies based on purpose of care. The method of wear depends most often on why the device is being used (for example: diagnostics, consistent extended vitals monitoring, etc.). One of the most common and biocompatible solutions is the development of a wearable medical and military vests.
Medical Vest Applications
Medical vests are not only one of the most versatile articles of clothing, but they are also the most convenient for technology or utility integration. Vests are based at the core of the body, making it optimal for monitoring vitals such as function of a specified organ or heart rate. Vests are also ideal for transport. If you require 24/7 medical device monitoring or function, it could be hard to not only keep the pieces organized, but also to keep them easily accessible. Vests are easily customizable and tactical, and can be outfitted with specified pouches based on the need of the medical device. This also comes into play with vests outfitted with biosensors as a way to “hide” the cords and sensors on the interior of the vest without interfering with the data being collected. Vests are discreet, fitted, and allow access to the device without bogging down the wearer.
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Military Vest Applications
Military vests are a common solution to transportation for military. Easily made to be tactical with interior and exterior pockets, these vests are often made to meet military specifications with military grade textiles. Recently, there have been rumblings of both national and international armed forces working with manufacturers and engineers to design “smart vests” that can be easily outfitted with technology that would traditionally have to be carried, making the soldier more agile and faster. A military vest can also act as a protective layer to the most important part of the body if it is made from durable and military grade materials such as Cordura or other ballistic fabrics. Vests of this style and use can also be used for First Responders – both police and EMS. Vests designed to hold body armor for maximum protection and coverage are not a new development, but with ripstop, ballistic, and military grade textile technologies paired with industrial sewing capabilities, manufacturing vests with body armor plate integration is made far more accessible for all at risk.
Taking it a step further, there are even medical and military vests that are designed with smart textiles, removing the extra technology and therein-potential tactical design drawbacks. By using sensors that are embedded (or even sewn and printed!) into the fabric allows for accurate biocompatible monitoring without the at-times obtrusive gadgetry of a medical device and extra weight on the vest. This is a major factor that the military is taking into consideration with the production of their smart vests, as they can monitor vitals, or, as an example of specified intent, provide potential life-saving first aid while a soldier is in the field.
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While the impression somewhat remains that wearable devices have to be futuristic gadgets, the versatility of smart vests – and their innumerable uses – has the potential to redefine the use of wearable technology in both the medical and military fields. At Fieldtex, we have worked with medical device companies to develop custom vests that not only support and integrate technology, but also provide wearers with a durable solution to any transportation issues that may emerge in the process of transporting medical devices.