A groundbreaking research by an Indian-origin scientist at the University of Rhode Island (URI) has revealed that clothes and other wearable items could possibly sense illness and transmit data to a doctor in a distant clinic for monitoring health and prescribing drugs.
The Indian-origin scientist is researching on smart textiles — wearable items embedded with sensors, electronics and software, capable enough for collecting data from patients, even though they are at home, and deliver it to doctors. According to Kunal Mankodiya, Director of the university’s Wearable Biosensing Laboratory, “We are in the era of game-changing technology, especially in health care”. Thus, transforming gloves, socks, clothing and even shoes into high-tech items that will make people healthier — and improve their lives.
These newly developed smart gloves are embedded with sensors on the fingers and thumb that measure tremors and rigidity — common symptoms of Parkinson disease. According to the Indian-origin researcher, “The glove will give patients the option of receiving health care while remaining at home, and it also reduces the risk of falls and other accidents”.
Mankodiya is also working on high-tech socks for people who have suffered strokes. Speaking on his research he reveals, “The socks examine the walking stride. They can quantify movements of the knee and ankle joints to find subtle irregularities that require therapy. The socks also monitor a patient’s progress”. In addition, Mankodiya is partnering with the US-based Lifespan Hospitals to create smart watch technologies for patients with psychiatric illnesses and autism.
The Indian-origin scientist and his team of students have been working on “smart wearables’’ for years as part of their research on the “Internet of Things,’’ a framework to automate human interactions with Cloud computing. Other projects of his team focus on developing tools to image, sense and record brain function to treat Parkinson’s, as well as other neurological diseases, such as epilepsy.
Born in India, Mankodiya received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Saurashtra University and his doctorate in computer science from the University of Luebeck in Germany. He did post-doctorate research at Carnegie Mellon University and joined URI in 2014.