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US researcher designs 'smart' hat that tracks babies' body temperature

24 Jan '23
2 min read
Sibei Xia, assistant professor in the LSU department of textiles, apparel design, and merchandising. Pic: Annabelle Lang/LSU College of Agriculture
Sibei Xia, assistant professor in the LSU department of textiles, apparel design, and merchandising. Pic: Annabelle Lang/LSU College of Agriculture

Smart clothing made of thermochromic yarn that changes colour based on body temperature will soon be able to detect fever in newborns. Louisiana State University’s (LSU) researcher Sibei Xia is developing body-tracking wearable technology—a hat—that could reduce the need for monitoring an infant’s temperature using thermometers and other invasive technologies.

Sibei Xia, who is an assistant professor in the LSU department of textiles, apparel design, and merchandising, has designed hats that have a band that combines functional and cotton yarn to detect temperature without influencing its comfort. She mentioned that advanced knitting technology has made it possible to explore functional yarns in the medical field, according to an LSU article by Mary Lang.

“If the newborn’s temperature goes really high, it’s going to change the hat to a beige colour so that we don’t have to necessarily measure the temperature that often or use other technologies to monitor temperature,” said Xia.

Flatback knitting machines, which allow the operator to customise patterns and tension, were used to make the prototype for the hat. Moreover, adding additional yarns or changing the knitting pattern enables changing of the thermochromic yarn threshold temperature.

The research project at LSU explores various yarn colours, knitting structures, and threshold temperatures to gauge the types of combinations that result in the desired colour-changing effect. “We are hoping that by implementing other structure variations and colour variations, it will create the linear range between 37.5°C to 38.5°C,” added Xia.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)

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