Smart textiles or E-textiles are textiles that incorporate the functionality of a computer. E-textiles are designed for both comfort-ability and functionality. They consist of conductive fibers and electronic elements that are woven into traditional fabric. These electronic elements can include antennas, fiber optics biomedical sensors etc.
Smart textiles have the technology and ability to change the way in which healthcare providers interact with their patients. Smart clothing or e-textiles for healthcare can include weaving electronics into an article of clothing to perform patient care functions. These textiles can allow healthcare providers to have access to real time patient information, and even alert them of possible warning signs. This would allow for patients to be monitored by healthcare providers as they go about their daily lives which can ultimately reduce the amount of hospital visits for the patient. Some current smart clothing includes gloves with sensors, socks that have thin blood pressure sensors, and wearable smart products that can monitor stress. They can interact with both the environment and the user while communicating real time data about the user to other devices. E-textiles are the future of home-based health monitoring because they can provide a comfortable and safe environment for home health-care and disease prevention.
Benefits of Smart textiles
- Can detect early warning signs that indicate disease
- Can be used in a professional medical setting or can be used to monitor personal health
- Telemedicine- allows for a doctor to monitor a patient without being with them
- GPS tracking in e-textiles can be used to track senior family members suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s