The Viscero ECG vest is a discrete, heart-monitoring T-Shirt

Design Partners has unveiled a wearable heart monitor vest, which uses smart fabric and a compact, detachable ‘brain’.

It is estimated that around 12 million people in the US will have abnormal heartbeats – (a condition known as arrhythmia) – by 2030. The most common monitoring device is Holter, which includes a series of wet electrodes that are restrictive to wear. The Viscero ECG vest is designed as a discrete, everyday alternative.

Developed by Irish design studio Design Partners, the Viscero ECG vest is a discreet piece of wellness technology designed for people with conditions that cause abnormal heartbeats, like arrhythmia for example. Intended to do away with bulky sensors and invasive systems, it incorporates the essential electrodes necessary to monitor the patient inside the fabric’s squiggly pattern using electronic ink.

Meanwhile, a detachable ‘brain’ containing an onboard accelerometer and gyroscope capture data to provide a fuller picture of recorded heart signals – highlighting when there are changes caused by exercise, for example. Data can then be shared with professionals to keep a weather eye on the condition. 

Technology is leading a healthcare evolution

Healthcare systems are notoriously slow to change but nevertheless, Design Partners is currently in talks with health companies about taking Viscero ECG into wider production. Alongside motor-free exoskeletons and modular leg braces, it speaks to a revolution currently underway in healthcare, especially when it comes to wearable devices.

As sensor technology is evolving and new and innovative materials, such as electronic ink, are becoming more widely available and understood, integrating specialist medical equipment into standard items of clothing could become increasingly commonplace. 

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Viscero ECG - in use

“The design and wearable technology industries are only just beginning to experiment with printed electronics,” says Cormac Ó Conaire, chief design officer of Design Partners. “We saw an opportunity to use this technique to create a solution that directly addresses these issues and creates connected, positive healthcare experiences for both doctors and patients alike. The result is a medical-grade, 6-lead ECG monitoring system that can be easily thrown on beneath clothes, guaranteeing patient comfort and data validity.”

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Viscero ECG - product details
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