China Just Created a Smart Suit That Tracks a Person’s Health Status

It seems straight out from a Hollywood sci-fi movie, but an intelligent suit that shows a person’s health status in real time recently came to life in China.

The suit, reminiscent of Kitai’s (Jaden Smith) in the 2013 film “After Earth,” was unveiled by Wang Zhonglin at the third International Conference on Nanoenergy and Nanosystems in Beijing on Oct. 21 – 23.

Screenshot via Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube

Fitted with large sensors made of woven material, the suit is capable of detecting blood pressure, chemical balance, temperature and other health status indicators, China News reported.

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It also comes with a self-charging pacemaker that “doesn’t need recharging or replacement.”

Wang, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Natural Sciences, expects the new invention to go on sale in two to three years.

He also introduced “nano tattoos” — stickers that administer medications straight to a person’s veins, China Daily noted. This painless and private injection method is expected to help diabetic patients.

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Prof. Wang Zhonglin via Ideablower/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The new inventions are made possible by an innovation called triboelectric nanogenerator, which harvests mechanical energy and transforms it into electric signals. In essence, it collects the energy a person produces when he/she engages in physical activities such as walking.

With this technology, the suit can also send a person’s health status to computers and mobile devices, allowing physicians to monitor them even without their physical presence.

Nanogenerators, however, are not entirely new things. They are currently used to power many portable devices, as well as shoes, suits, bicycles and carpets. Wang added:

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“Nanogenerating carpets, in particular, will be able to detect irregular movements, so that when someone trips and falls, it will automatically sound an alert and solicit help.”

In praise of China’s contribution to nanoscience, Ashutosh Tiwari, secretary-general of the International Association of Advanced Materials, said at the conference:

“China has surpassed the US and ranks first in the field of nanoenergy. Thanks to the hard work of Chinese scientists around the world, it now produces 50 percent of academic publications every year. But how to synchronize it into applications, that’s a question to think about.”

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