The Loh Down On Science

Smarty Pants

A wearable blood pressure monitoring system.

Talk about smarty pants!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and on the intersection of vital signs and panty lines.

People with cardiovascular disease sometimes need to have their blood pressure continually recorded. The readings aren't hard to do--but hauling around a cuff, pump and stethoscope can be awkward.

So, inventors Jens M?hlsteff and Jeroen Thijs with Phillips Electronics in Germany had a brainstorm. Why not make a blood pressure monitoring system that's WEARABLE. Say, in UNDERwear ?

Their new system, creatively dubbed the "wearable blood pressure monitoring system" is built right into underpants.

The special skivvies use "dry" electrodes, which use only sweat to conduct electrical signals from the skin. The electrodes are located in the waistband--over the large abdominal artery--and in the elastic around the legs, over the femoral arteries.

Those electrodes measure something called pulse wave velocity--the speed at which a beat of the heart transmits blood through the circulatory system. That rate can be quickly converted into blood pressure.

Resulting in a serious medical conversation. Involving you, your doctor, and your underpants. Just pray they're clean. No pressure.


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