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The heart of tech

This article was published on July 25, 2013

    Wearable electrodes from Japan let users monitor their heart rates just by slipping on a T-shirt

    Wearable electrodes from Japan let users monitor their heart rates just by slipping on a T-shirt Image by: Getty Images/iStockphoto
    Josh Horwitz
    Story by

    Josh Horwitz

    Josh Horwitz is an intern for TNW based out of Taipei, Taiwan, where he enjoys studying Mandarin, translating forgotten Taiwan independent f Josh Horwitz is an intern for TNW based out of Taipei, Taiwan, where he enjoys studying Mandarin, translating forgotten Taiwan independent films, playing German board games, and rowing on his dragon boat crew team. You can find him on Twitter at @HorwitzJosh, and can email him at [email protected]

    Wearable technology looms on the horizon right now, with products like Google Glass and the rumored iWatch attracting attention as much for their practical applications as for their curiosity factor. Not only can we bring our computers anywhere now, we can wear them too.

    Most of these products can be categorized as consumer accessories – watches, headbands, etc. – but Japan’s NTT has developed an actual textile with computing capabilities. Specifically, they’ve invented a wearable textile electrode that can be placed inside a T-shirt, where it can can monitor one’s heart rate.

    Check out the video below to see how it works.

    According to Diginfo.tv the textiles are made from a synthetic fiber core that is coated with a conductive polymer. Since the electrodes are soft and comfortable to wear, they allow for long term monitoring of one’s heart rate without electrolyte pastes or gels.

    The most obvious use for this technology is in medicine, of course, but with wearable technology a natural fit for health and fitness apps like Nike+, it seems well-poised to function on a more consumer-oriented level too.

    NTT is in the process of testing the fabric on 100 wearers to further assess its effectiveness and safety.

     Image credit via Thinkstock