"Dream Weavers" is the perfect term for the vision of combining medical and computer technology with textiles and fabric. Currently, researchers are working on fabric and clothes that hide sensors, conductive fibers and transmitters that can monitor heartbeat, body temperature, blood oxygen, and respiration. This technology can be incorporated into any fabric or blends without effecting the look or feel of the fabric that it is replacing. It incorporates advances in textile engineering, wearable computers, and wireless transfer of data to permit the easy and comfortable collection, transmission, and analysis of personal health and lifestyle data. When incorporated into the design of clothing, this technology can quietly perform an EKG, monitor the wearer's heart rate, respiration, temperature and a host of other vital functions, alerting the wearer or physician if there is a problem.
The U.S. Navy's 21st Century Land Warrior Program originally created this high tech vision in October 1996 and it was further developed by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency. Various companies are working on ways to put computer electronics directly into the fibers of clothing. Combining computer electronics and medical sensors and transmission equipment into one unit is nothing new" but weaving them into an article of clothing is. There are many examples of making high tech home medical devices a part of our everyday lives. Some examples are the: "Smart Shirt", "Life Shirt" and "Smart Socks". .
Sensatex, Inc. is at the forefront of this technology. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Textile and Fiber Engineering in Atlanta first developed the Sensatex fabric. This fabric contains sensors, monitoring and information processing devices to be networked together. Sensatex, Inc. commercialized this fabric into what they call the "Smart Shirt". The "Smart Shirt" is made of a soft, washable fabric with optical and electrical fibers directly woven into it.