shock-vestGetting an electric shock is definitely no fun at all, but there are times when it is crucial to “shock” someone back to life. It seems as though 20% of patients who are required to wear defibrillators do not do so, which means they tend to take a gamble with their lives. Perhaps it is the inconvenience of it all that has led to such a nonchalant attitude, which is why a group of biomedical engineering students from the John Hopkins University decided to ensure that no such excuse can be used in the future by designing a new kind of wearable defibrillator.

This wearable defibrillator happens to arrive in an unobtrusive form factor and is also comfortable to wear, making it very, very different from traditional harness designs. Apart from that, this particular wearable defibrillator happens to be like a stretchable, waterproof vest that has been fitted with sensors, where these sensors are hooked up to a tiny smartwatch-like interface unlike its predecessors.

The science behind the device has not changed, it is just that wearable defibrillators are now able to live up to their name, by being wearable – in a comfortable manner. Team member Melinda Chen shared, “We just changed the form of the device. We pursued a ‘slip-on and forget’ approach to minimize the user’s need to maintain and interact with the device.”

This vest will still be able to detect deadly irregular heart rhythms, where it will then shock patients with electricity in order to ensure that one’s heartbeat returns to normal. A false alarm can happen, and patients will have half a minute to disable the system via its interface. Tests are currently being run in order to make sure that such a wearable defibrillator can enter medical service sooner rather than later. [Press Release]

Filed in General >Medical. Read more about Science.

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