Photograph of Smart Shirt prototype monitoring device

Smart Shirt prototype monitoring device, 1996

Dr. Sundaresan Jarayaman

Dr. Sundaresan Jayaraman wants to bring people and technology closer together by weaving computers into clothing. He runs the Textile Information Systems Research Laboratory at Georgia Institute of Technology.

When the navy announced that it needed a wearable technology to monitor soldiers wounded on the battlefield, Jayaraman thought he had the answer: a “Smart Shirt” that would electronically transmit data on the soldier’s condition to the field hospital. Jayaraman won the contract to develop the technology, but the requirements presented interesting vital signs, and be comfortable and easy to care for.


Photograph of Sungee Park at loom

Loom used to weave the Smart Shirt
Textile engineer Sungmee Park developed a special loom to weave the tube-like garment, which does not have seams. Optical fibers are woven throughout the shirt in a continuous loop. If a bullet severs the fibers, the exact location of the bullet’s entry is recorded. Sensors attached to the skin and connected to the shirt monitor vital signs, including heart rate, EKG, respiration, and body temperature. A monitor worn on the belt transmits the data electronically to a remote location.


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