We have pointed out in the past ththe high value e-textiles and wearable technologies have to help improving the lifestyle of persons requiring medical treatment, rehabilitation after medical treatment and enhancing the life style of elderly persons by assisting declining body functions.
Without wearable technologies many of this persons are confined to rooms or stationary monitoring. By integrating monitoring sensors comfortably into clothing allows those persons to life an almost normal lifestyle.
Physorg published an article describing the work of an Virginia Tech engineering team which designed pants that have various sensors and transmitting technologies integrated monitoring the motion activity of the wearer and build into their design specifically the detection of motion patterns indicating this person might develop a higher risk of falling.
According to a study by the Center for Disease Control, around one-third of adults age 65and over fall every year resulting in injury by one-fourth of them.
Various sensors are placed on strategical locations throughout the pant like gyroscopes, piezoelectric stretch sensors and accelerometers. Those sensors are communicating with so called e-TAGs, small printed circuit boards holding microcontrollers, other sensors in the system and communication functions.
The e-TAG system is smart enough to differentiate between motions deviation during normal conditions like walking on even or uneven ground but can detect irregularities typical for persons who might have instability in their motion patterns.
Wireless transmission of such irregularities to a monitoring station near or far away can direct the attention of the assistant personnel to take the appropriate actions.
Sure, the design of the pants have to be improved but as often seen before, researchers and engineers only see their technology, hardly look at styling and fashion. So no worry, your grand ma/pa will not look like a clown once this e-textile pants become reality.