Smart textiles and wearable medical devices are becoming more commercialized and available as home healthcare solutions. These wearable medical devices often take the form of vests. The purpose of a medical vest always dictates the design and how it is worn. A medical vest can handle everything from diagnostics to extended vitals monitoring.
Medical Vest Applications
Medical vests are versatile articles of clothing because they are very convenient for technology and utility integration. By covering the torso, a vest can optimally monitor vitals such as organ function and heart rate. Medical vests are great options for 24/7 monitoring without intubation or confinement to a hospital bed. Vests are easy to customize with specified pouches for medical devices, drastically helping with organization and accessibility. This also comes into play when using biosensors. The cords and sensors can be fitted on the interior of the vest to prevent them from getting snagged or scratched. This lets medical professionals monitor people in a discreet and comfortable manner, with easy access to medical devices without inconveniencing the wearer.
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Military Vest Applications
The military uses plate carriers as a common solution for transporting necessary gear such as first aid equipment, ammunition, and armor plates. Interior and exterior pockets allow military personnel to have everything they need within reach, saving space in their backpacks for surplus items. These vests meet specific qualifications for durability, reliability, and protection using military grade textiles. Military grade materials such as Cordura or other ballistic fabrics are designed to resist tears and abrasions so they have to be repaired/replaced less frequently.
Vests of this style are also used for first responders, most commonly police, but sometimes EMS depending on the situation. Vests designed to hold body armor are not a new development, but with ripstop, ballistic, and smart textile technologies constantly advancing, they certainly seem like new inventions.
Recently, national and international armed forces have been working with manufacturers and engineers to design “smart vests”. This lets military personnel carry communication and GPS systems, (source) and even conductive yarns that can replace wires(source). There are even medical and military vests that use embedded biosensors for accurate and convenient biometric monitoring. This technology will monitor vitals of active military personnel, helping combat medics find and treat patients efficiently.
Smart vests have the potential to redefine the wearable technology in both the medical and military fields. At Fieldtex, we work with medical device companies to develop custom vests that support and integrate technology while providing a durable solution for transporting personal medical devices.
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