Designed for medical diagnosis in combat situations, the Smart Shirt developed by Sundaresan Jayaraman was recently selected as one of twenty-five semi-finalists out of 4,200 entries in the History Channel's Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge.
Jayaraman, a professor of polymer, textile and fiber engineering who holds a joint appointment in the College of Management's Information Technology Management area, also calls the Smart Shirt the first Wearable Motherboard. Using optical fibers and sensors that are woven in, this lightweight garment can monitor soldiers' vital signs and detect bullet wounds during combat, transmitting health information electronically to medical triage units near the battlefield.
Other potential uses include remote monitoring of post-operative patients after they leave the hospital, infants at risk of sudden infant death syndrome, astronauts in space, athletes competing, and law-enforcement officials on duty, says Jayaraman, who is developing a center on health innovations/management for the business school.
Beginning April 7, the Smart Shirt will be featured in a traveling Modern Marvels exhibition visiting museums in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Akron, Ohio. Semi-finalists are invited to an exposition and awards presentation in late May in New York City. The overall winner will receive a $25,000 grant and be featured on the History Channel's Modern Marvels program. The History Channel created the Challenge in partnership with Invent Now Inc., a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation.
In 2002, Jayaraman's Smart Shirt earned a place in the Smithsonian Institute's collection of important items in the history of textiles. Time magazine has also highlighted it as a great invention.