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Vol. 107, Issue 8, August 2009, pp. 165-176





Smart Wireless Sensors Integrated in Clothing: an Electrocardiography System

in a Shirt Powered Using Human Body Heat


*Vladimir Leonov, *Tom Torfs, *Chris Van Hoof and **Ruud J. M. Vullers

*Interuniversity Microelectronics Center (IMEC), Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

**Holst Centre / IMEC-NL, High Tech Campus 31, 5656AE Eindhoven, The Netherlands

*Tel.: +32-16-288 367, fax: +32-16-281 576

E-mail: leonov@imec.be



Received: 25 July 2009   /Accepted: 15 August 2009   /Published:  25 August 2009


Abstract: A wireless electrocardiography system is integrated in an office-style shirt. The device is powered by a thermoelectric generator that converts natural heat flow from the body into electrical power. The thermoelectric generator outperforms AA batteries of the same weight in about 1.5-2 years of using, depending on the time the shirt is worn per day. The system is composed of 17 small modules spread over the shirt. The module thickness does not exceed 6.5 mm for convenience of the wearer. Smart electronic module with extremely low power consumption provides excellent quality of a cardiogram and smart power management. The system sustains machine washing with a drying cycle at 1000 rpm and pressing. No other service is required for the entire service life of the shirt.


Keywords: Electrocardiography, Wireless sensor, Thermoelectric generator, Energy scavenging, Clothing


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