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Healthcare providers soon will have a new tool for monitoring vital signs

Georgia Institute Of Technology : 12 May, 2000  (New Product)
Healthcare providers soon will have a new tool for monitoring vital signs, thanks to a licensing agreement between the Georgia Tech Research Corporation and SensaTex Inc., a start-up company funded by New York-based Seed One Ventures, LLC. SensaTex will work with Georgia Tech researchers to further develop, manufacture and market the 'Smart Shirt,' a T-shirt that functions like a computer, with optical and conductive fibers integrated into the garment.
When incorporated into the design of clothing, the technology could quietly monitor the wearer's heart rate, EKG, respiration, temperature, and a host of vital functions, alerting the wearer or physician if there is a problem. The Smart Shirt also can be used to monitor the vital signs of law enforcement officers, firemen, astronauts, military personnel, chronically ill patients, elderly persons living alone, athletes, and infants. The Smart Shirt project was initially funded by the U.S. Navy in October 1996.

'The Smart Shirt represents a quantum leap in healthcare monitoring, producing accurate, real-time results,' said Jeffrey Wolf, chief executive officer of SensaTex. 'The potential applications for the technology are enormous…and SensaTex is well poised to pursue them all.'

SensaTex will seek FDA approval for the Smart Shirt after conducting human testing of the garment in a clinical setting. SensaTex expects the Smart Shirt will be less costly than current monitoring systems, and predicts the shirt will be available to consumers in the first quarter of 2001.

'It is extremely gratifying to know that the results of our research will indeed make a positive impact on the quality of life for individuals in the real world,' said Dr. Sundaresan Jayaraman, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Textile and Fiber Engineering and the lead researcher of the Smart Shirt project.

'Judging from the number of inquiries we have received from parents, physicians and caregivers from all over the world, there is a critical need for the Smart Shirt and I am happy that this need will be met in the near future,' he said.

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation received an equity stake in SensaTex, Inc., and a portion of the revenue generated by sales of the Smart Shirt will support other research endeavors at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

SensaTex's founders, Wolf and Dr. Jeff Himawan, vice president and chief science officer, have a successful track record in marketing healthcare technologies. One of their recent ventures, Elusys Therapeutics, is developing novel pharmaceutical products to clear the blood of a wide range of invading pathogens.

Georgia Tech's School of Textile and Fiber Engineering has played a leading role in textile technology for more than a century. The school's Textile Information Systems Research Laboratory, headed by Dr. Jayaraman, is a leader in exploring the synergy between textile engineering and computing.
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