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Wearable sensors

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Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Charlotte Hu writes that MIT researchers have developed an “electronics chip design that allows for sensors and processors to be easily swapped out or added on, like bricks of LEGO.” Hu writes that “a reconfigurable, modular chip like this could be useful for upgrading smartphones, computers, or other devices without producing as much waste.”

The Daily Beast

MIT engineers have developed a wireless, reconfigurable chip that could easily be snapped onto existing devices like a LEGO brick, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “Having the flexibility to customize and upgrade an old device is a modder’s dream,” writes Fauzia, “but the chip may also help reduce electronic waste, which is estimated at 50 million tons a year worldwide.”

TechCrunch

CSAIL researchers have developed a robotic glove that utilizes pneumatic actuation to serve as an assistive wearable, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Soft pneumatic actuators are intrinsically compliant and flexible, and combined with intelligent materials, have become the backbone of many robots and assistive technologies – and rapid fabrication with our design tool can hopefully increase ease and ubiquity,” says graduate student Yiyue Luo.

Inverse

Researchers from MIT have developed a new fabric that can hear and interpret what’s happening on and inside our bodies, reports Elana Spivack for Inverse. Beyond applications for physical health the researchers envision that the fabric could eventually be integrated with “spacecraft skin to listen to [accumulating] space dust, or embedded into buildings to detect cracks or strains,” explains Wei Yan, who helped develop the fabric as an MIT postdoc. “It can even be woven into a smart net to monitor fish in the ocean. It can also facilitate the communications between people who are hard of [hearing].”

WHDH 7

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with WHDH about his team’s work developing an acoustic fabric that can listen to and record sound, a development inspired by the human ear. "The fabric can be inserted into clothes to monitor heart rate and respiration. It can even help with monitoring unborn babies during pregnancy."

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new material that works like a microphone, converting sounds into vibrations and then electrical signals. “The development means the possibility of clothes that act as hearing aids, clothes that answer phone calls, and garments that track heart and breathing rates,” writes Bloomberg News.

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT and the Rhode Island School of Design have developed a wearable fabric microphone that can detect and transmit soundwaves and convert them into electrical signals, reports Shi En Kim for Popular Science. “Computers are going to really become fabrics," says Prof. Yoel Fink. "We’re getting very close.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have created a flexible fiber that can generate electrical impulses that are conveyed to the brain as sound, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “The researchers see endless possibilities for their smart fabric,” writes Fauzia. “The obvious application is in improving hearing aids, which Fink said have trouble discerning the direction of sound, particularly in noisy environments. But the fabric could also help engineers design wearable fabrics that can measure vital signs, monitor space dust in new kinds of spacecraft, and listen for signs of deterioration in buildings like emerging cracks and strains.”

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal about next generation technologies that can create and quantify personal health data, Laura Cooper spotlights Prof. Dina Katabi’s work developing a noninvasive device that sits in a person’s home and can help track breathing, heart rate, movement, gait, time in bed and the length and quality of sleep. The device “could be used in the homes of seniors and others to help detect early signs of serious medical conditions, and as an alternative to wearables,” writes Cooper.

NPR

NPR’s Ted Radio Hour spotlights the work of Alicia Chong Rodriguez SM ’17, SM ’18, who is trying to address the gaps that exist in women’s health data through a smart bra that can be used to acquire physiological data. Chong’s startup BloomerTech has “built medical-grade textile sensors that can adapt to multiple bra styles and sizes for continuous, reliable and repeatable data all around her torso and her heart.”

The Boston Globe

Alicia Chong Rodriguez SM ’17, SM ’18 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Pranshu Verma about the inspiration for her startup BloomerTech, which is focused on addressing heart disease in women, and the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials. As part of this effort, BloomerTech is developing a “sensor-enabled bra that feeds real-time heart data to doctors running clinical trials on women’s cardiovascular disease.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Emmett Smith spotlights how MIT researchers have created a new toolkit for designing wearable devices that can be 3D printed. “The researchers used the kit to create sample devices, like a personal muscle monitor that uses augmented reality,” explains Smith, “plus a device for recognizing hand gestures and a bracelet for identifying distracted driving.”

Forbes

Alumna Loewen Cavill speaks with Forbes contributor Mary Juetten about her startup AuraBlue, which is creating wearable technology aimed at improving sleep for menopausal women by automatically adjusting room and mattress temperatures. “After hearing again and again how sleep loss from nighttime hot flashes has completely flipped so many women's lives upside down, I had to do something,” says Cavill. “Enabling women to stay on their career path and perform their best at the final part of their career climb is the single most important thing I can do to promote women in leadership.”

Fast Company

Professor Xuanhe Zhao and his colleagues have developed a new soft robotic prosthetic hand that offers the wearer more tactile control. “You can use it to grab something as thin and fragile as a potato chip, or grasp another hand in a firm-but-safe handshake,” writes Mark Wilson for Fast Company. “By design, this rubbery, air-filled hand is naturally compliant.”

Dezeen

Dezeen reporter Rima Sabina Aouf writes that MIT researchers have created an inflatable prosthetic hand that can be produced for a fraction of the cost of similar prosthetics. “The innovation could one day help some of the 5 million people in the world who have had an upper-limb amputation but can't afford expensive prostheses.”