One difference between the original version of the technology and NanoSonic’s version is that EKGear transmits information wirelessly to a display that is identical to a traditional heart rate and EKG display. “NASA did not want us to focus on any specific wireless system for them because it could interfere with their electronics. But with EKGear, the wearer can now go out for a jog and it will send a signal back to the display,” says Hill.
The company has already sold a variety of its dry electrodes, a few of its EKGear shirts, and is currently in discussions with companies in the space, athletic apparel, and healthcare communities about using the technology in the future.
Especially convenient for remote health monitoring, there is great potential for the technology in the healthcare and sports and fitness industries, in emergency response situations, and in the military. In hospitals, where certain patients require around-the-clock monitoring, EKGear can provide an alternative to traditional wet and wired electrodes. Hospital garment manufacturers are interested in the technology, and NanoSonic has also spoken to the military about developing apparel for soldiers.
Besides EKG sensors, NanoSonic can incorporate additional electronics in the shirt, including temperature sensors, respiration sensors, and antennas for location information. “Beyond EKG measurements, being able to monitor a soldier and know where they are, how they are doing, what their stress level is, and what their heart rate is—would all be beneficial,” Hill says. The same applies to emergency responders like firemen, police, and disaster relief personnel.
Another area where comfortable, dry electrode sensors would be advantageous is scuba diving. The company recently started talking with a commercial manufacturer of dive suits to see if the sensors would be a good fit.
To add even more convenience to the technology, NanoSonic is also developing a wireless interconnect system and app that can be combined with EKGear and the wearer’s electronic device to capture, record, and track cardio and physiological data.
According to Schlegel, “The shirt is just one of many potential configurations.” He finds the electrodes could potentially be used for electromyograms to evaluate and record the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles, and for electroencephalograms to study the electrical current within the brain.
Metal Rubber™ is a trademark of NanoSonic Inc.
EKGear™ is a trademark of NanoSonic Inc.