Smart clothing may well take the place of smartphone-based remote patient monitoring. And soon.
That is, if Sonny Vu, co-founder of iBGStar-maker AgaMatrix, is right. He's betting the farm on just that, having raised nearly $8 million in the past six months to fund tiny new wearable sensors that can be integrated into everyday clothing, according to a story at Technology Review.
Vu wants to plant sensors in everyday objects that people put on their bodies without thinking--socks, underwear, wallet, etc., and remove the "intentionality" out of recording one's basic health metrics. Most existing smartphone and tablet apps require users to either enter their own data, or to wear individual, removable, sensors for virtually each vital sign they track.
"The best products are the ones that you really rely on but you don't have to remember to use," he tells Technology Review.
Interestingly, while he's a medical device expert himself, he's looking to the textile industry to make the next big innovations in mobile computing. "Those folks are thinking about clothing and about stuff you're already wearing," he tells Technology Review. "Not 'How can we strap this thing to your body?'"
And lest you dismiss his predictions, he's got some powerful backers. Chief among them is John Sculley, a former Apple CEO who invested with Vu last fall to create their core startup company, Misfit Wearables.
Vu isn't alone in his vision, either. We told you recently about a University of Arkansas project that has sewn small nanotech-enabled sensors into underclothing including t-shirts and bras, to record vital signs and other data. The developers' ideas paralleled Vu's--to give patients a way to automatically, and invisibly, collect data that they may not want to think about all day.