Wearable sensors register muscle tension

The vest consists of sensors woven into the fabric that register the electrical excitation of the muscle fibers, and thin conducting metallic fibers that pass the signals to an electronic analysis system. People's muscle tension changes with their stress level, the greater the stress, the more likely the muscles are to produce a synchronous twitching effect. Though this is barely perceptible, the electrodes register the change. The idea of the sensor vest originated with biomedical scientists at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, who needed an inconspicuous measuring tool for stress studies. Until then, they had affixed electrodes directly to their test subjects' chests. But this itself induced stress, with the result that the tests delivered very little useful information. The new vest is designed to ensure a more relaxed test environment. The project members are exploring further potential applications such as a special vest for computer games. By selectively tensing the torso muscles, players could use the vest to control figures on the monitor and for instance burst their heroes' chains and fetters. The vest could also contribute to safety at the workplace, perhaps ensuring that workers do not lift loads that are too heavy for them. And sports coaches could tell from the electronic vest whether athletes have reached their performance limits or still possess energy reserves.

Source: medgadget.comAdded: 3 July 2008