The global population recently surpassed 7.8 billion people, with about 15% suffering from disabilities caused primarily by ageing and chronic diseases.
Lack of rehabilitation infrastructure and qualified experts is a global issue that has been exacerbated by the current epidemic, and as a result, healthcare access has been drastically curtailed.
Future technologies, such as telemedicine and telerehabilitation, are attempting to address these difficulties by giving remote and affordable access to healthcare via telecommunication devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Dr Ishara Dharmasena, of the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering (MEME), has been appointed a Research Fellow by the Royal Academy of Engineering. For the next five years, he will focus on creating sensor-containing super-smart textiles that can be used for remote health monitoring. These textiles will not only power electronic components, but act as self-powered functional sensors that are able to accurately sense the movements of targeted body parts.
His research will focus on developing fabrics that can detect motion, such as heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological parameters in real-life situations.
His research will focus on developing “super-smart textiles” that can monitor body movements and remotely transmit the sensor signals, while powering their own operations by absorbing energy from the natural motion of the wearer.