Not long to go until the EU FrailSafe final event in Brussels, 3 April 2019. From now on you will be able to get to know one of our partners every week and learn more about their expertise and involvement.
Today we are allowed to introduce you to our creative and visionary Smartex team based in Italy and their activities within the FrailSafe project. You do not want to miss that read! Check it out!
1. What is your role in the EU FrailSafe project?
Smartex is a small company dedicated to the integration of electronics and textile into wearable solutions for real-time and real-life monitoring. In FrailSafe, Smartex has developed a new version of a sensorised shirt able to monitor signals from the heart and respiration together with posture and movement analysis in order to have a significant amount of data for a deeper comprehension of what frailty is.
The shirt can record a one-lead electrocardiogram, the heart rate, the heart rate variability, the respiration wave and rate, the posture and the movement of the body and the arms of the wearer, using fabric electrodes and sensors integrated in the garment and 3 9-DOF inertial platforms embedded into pockets.
2. From your perspective – what makes EU FrailSafe innovative?
We are not physicians, so what we write is the opinion of our clinical partners: frailty is the combination of a complex and complicated general decline of physical and psychological conditions mainly due to ageing. So far there were some methodologies to monitor, diagnose and quantify this process (e.g. Fried) but was limited to a few tests performed in a hospital environment and only related to the physical sphere.
FrailSafe is offering a new set of sensors, serious games, clinical tests and data analysis (online and offline) that is based on data collection in "real world" and integrates also the psychological changes, monitored under many different skills (memory, time of reaction, cognitive skills...). It also allows evaluating user's strength (both in terms of explosive one and in endurance).
Last but not least, all these tests can be used not only to monitor the trend but also to make physical and mental exercise, so possibly slowing or even reversing the speed and the direction of the degenerative processes! And all this could be packed in modular solutions that could be fully or partially integrated by NHSs, in order to prevent aging-related social costs, or co-funded by citizens, public and private sectors, in order to have a better quality of life together with an efficient ageing policy.
3. The project is coming to an end – do you have some preliminary findings to share?
As we mentioned above, Smartex contribution was the development and the production of a few sensorised shirts, together with the electronic devices that record and pre-process raw data. Due to contractual boundaries, the number of both components was limited, so we had to think, design and produce a garment that could fit many users that were different in sizes and also in gender. But we are aware that the path we have to take if we want to make the monitoring session a pleasure is absolutely in the other direction! Garments must be personalised, to make them anonymous or absolutely evident depending on the user's pleasure, obviously comfortable in all cases (with the limitation due to some restraints related to the quality of the collected signals), warm in winter, breathable and light in hot weathers, in different shapes depending on the real need of users and their GPs: if less sensors can be used, the garment can be a shirt or a vest (no sleeves) or a bra or a strap. Independently from the goal you want to reach using our product, you must wear it in the morning (or whenever you desire) as you do with any other cloth you have in your wardrobe!