A smart shirt for athletes that will examine the work of the heart and muscle activity, analyse temperature and perspiration during exercise has been developed by scientists from the Military University of Technology. Working with an app that records the course of training, the route of walking, running or cycling, the shirt can also help users to compete online with other athletes.
The technology developed by a team led by Dr Mariusz Chmielewski and Dr Tadeusz Sondej, is being developed in cooperation between the university and the company NUTPro, responsible for its commercialisation. According to Dr Chmielewski, the shirt has features found in professional medical equipment such as the Holter monitor. Graphite electrodes are connected to clothing to enable accurate measurement of biomedical data. Even centimetre sensors effectively adhere to the body, while the fabric of the shirt has integrated conductive fibres so that it does not cause abrasions, which - as every long-distance runner knows - are common even in good-quality technical running shirts. For further information see the IDTechEx report on E-textiles and Smart Clothing 2020-2030: Technologies, Markets and Players.
Chmielewski said: "In the case of athletes, mobile biomedical measurement is usually performed using photoplethysmography (the name of the technology used in wearable devices). Our shirt is a textronic device that integrates electronics with textiles."
He added: "You can not only run in this shirt, but also do crossfit or full strength training. The shirt shows whether the exercises were carried out correctly and were working properly on the muscles. The commonly-used smartwatches also offer the option of monitoring strength training. But in their case, the command +start the series+ starts the process of recognizing the type of movement and analysing pulse changes. A smartwatch does not check whether the exercise was actually performed with the maximum muscle stress. The shirt tests such activity by distinguishing the muscle action separately on the chest and the back. In the case of the symmetrical version of the shirt, it allows to check whether the body is evenly loaded."
Algorithms make it possible to draw conclusions on the physiology of exercise and, consequently, to analyse the correct training patterns optimal for a given user.
The mobile application - the brain of the system integrated with the shirt - has a multi-segment training option. The developers analysed the highly valued Garmin Connect, Endomondo and Strava apps. Based on the requirements and functionalities of these tools, they have composed their own range of utility functions.
Chmielewski said: "With our application, I can do a workout that starts with a walk to the forest, a run, in the middle of the run a strength training, in the next segment running intervals, and finally stretching exercises. The shirt can register my entire complementary training with the assistance of sensory tests."
The mobile application and shirt equipped with a wireless biometric signal integrator have won two gold medals at international exhibitions of innovations and inventions EUROINVENT and IWIS 2020.
According to Dr. Adam Bartnicki from the Technology Transfer Centre of the Military University of Technology, the Academy transferred all intellectual property rights to NUTPro in accordance with the contract signed with the company.
Source: Science in Poland
Top image: NUTPro