Blood pressure is not hard to measure, but the necessary equipment for clinically accurate measurements – a cuff, a pump, and stethoscope or electronics – is bulky and heavy.
Philips, the electronics giant has recently filed a patent for blood-pressure sensing underpants which can be calibrated to give accurate readings whenever they are worn. The technology makes use of “pulse wave velocity” - pulse waves generated when the heart pumps which then moves through the blood circulatory system. The researchers have found pulse wave speeds correlate to blood pressure.
Sensors sewn into the waistband of a person’s underpants can measure the rate of this wave, consumer electronics company Philips has discovered, and could be used to calculate blood pressure for as long as the garment is worn.
The built-in sensors in the waistband of the underpants detect changes in the electrical impedance of the underlying tissue whenever a pulse wave moves through. The speed or velocity of the pulse wave can then be calculated from the time it takes to travel from one sensor to another.
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