Maxim Integrated to demo wearable vital signs monitoring shirt at electronica 2012

September 21, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Maxim Integrated is collaborating with Clearbridge VitalSigns and Orbital Research to produce a reference design for a highly integrated, telehealth fitness (‘Fit’) shirt that enables patient monitoring and lowers the cost of medical diagnoses.

The shirt, which enables 24/7 connected health monitoring that will help to lower medical care costs, will be demonstrated for the first time at electronica 2012.  The demonstration shirt will be powered by a rechargeable Li+ battery and will be capable of measuring temperature and activity as well as featuring a 3-lead ECG.  A key attribute of the shirt will be its connectivity capabilities that feature Bluetooth to an iPhone and iPad running an app that helps to display vital signs monitoring data that can also be shown on a larger monitor if required. USB will be used for charging requirements.

The vital signs monitoring shirt will enable medical professionals to perform frequent and less costly fitness monitoring that will lead to more effective preventive medical care. The highly integrated shirt measures 3-lead ECG, body temperature, and motion. All diagnostic tools are packaged in a shirt that is comfortable to wear.

The ‘Fit’ shirt integrates dry ECG sensor technology, complex signal processing technology, temperature sensor, motion sensor, an ultra-low-power microcontroller, and wireless electronics. The design is the result of the combined experience, expertise, and inventive synergies from three collaborating companies, Maxim Integrated, Clearbridge VitalSigns, and Orbital Research. The shirt represents a new era in preventive medical care that could reduce health care costs by up to 10x.

“Maxim is working through business relationships with companies like Clearbridge VitalSigns and Orbital Research to enable new integrated solutions that are already advancing new techniques of medical delivery,” said Chris Neil, Senior Vice President for Maxim.  “The market for wearable devices will reach more than 100 million units annually by 2016 according to ABI Research.”

Maxim Integrated has made several contributions to the new ‘Fit’ shirt which includes the ultra-low power MAXQ622 microcontroller for easy-to-use and easy-to-program interfacing of multiple technologies.  In addition, the MAX8671 power-management IC will deliver quiet supplies and efficient switching to the various sensors.  The MAX6656 ultra-low-power temperature sensor