, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 152-168

The Wearable Motherboard™: The first generation of adaptive and responsive textile structures (ARTS) for medical applications

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Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) has been making inroads into medicine in a broad spectrum of applications, including medical education, surgical training, telemedicine, surgery and the treatment of phobias and eating disorders. The extensive and innovative applications of VR in medicine, made possible by the rapid advancements in information technology, have been driven by the need to reduce the cost of healthcare while enhancing the quality of life for human beings.

In this paper, we discuss the design, development and realisation of an innovative technology known as the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ (GTWM), or the “Smart Shirt”. The principal advantage of GTWM is that it provides, for the first time, a very systematic way of monitoring the vital signs of humans in an unobtrusive manner. The flexible databus integrated into the structure transmits the information to monitoring devices such as an EKG machine, a temperature recorder, a voice recorder, etc. GTWM is lightweight and can be worn easily by anyone, from infants to senior citizens. We present the universal characteristics of the interface pioneered by the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ and explore the potential applications of the technology in areas ranging from combat to geriatric care. The GTWM is the realisation of a personal information processing system that gives new meaning to the termubiquitous computing. Just as the spreadsheet pioneered the field of information processing that brought “computing to the masses”, it is anticipated that the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ will bring personalised and affordable healthcare monitoring to the population at large.