All sewn up | The Economist

WEARABLE and implantable medical gadgets are a promising technology. By continuously collecting information from patients they make it easier to diagnose and treat whatever the problem may be. But most of the sensors in such devices have to lie flat against the body. That limits what they can do.

Now a team of researchers are trying to use one of humanity’s oldest technologies to do better. Sameer Sonkusale at Tufts University, in Massachusetts, and his colleagues, propose to turn threads, of the sort spun to make clothes, into sensors.

Thread has many advantages. It is cheap, flexible and mostly tolerated by human bodies. Most pertinently, doctors have plenty of experience, via the practice of suturing, of sewing it into bodily tissues. Doing that with smart thread would allow a more detailed overview of what is happening than any skin-mounted sensor could.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future. He lives in London with a single android - a temperamental vacuum cleaner - but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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All sewn up | The Economist

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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