Connextyle Smart Shirt Provides Multi-Sensory Healing For Stroke Patients

Connextyle Shirt stroke rehabilitation
Image credit: Jessica Smarsch

Designer and researcher Jessica Smarsch has introduced Connextyle, a stroke rehabilitation garment designed for measuring muscle activity. Inspired by ancient Japanese technique called Kintsugi, Connextyle uses a new technology called TexPCBs, which is a silver-coated textile laminated between thermoplastic material, in order to create dry electrodes and measure muscle movement. The data collected by the TexPCBs is then sent to a processing module attached to the garments’ exterior. The module registers movement.

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The rehabilitation garment works in conjunction with an app that allows patients to track and monitor their rehabilitation process. It provides them with activities to improve their muscle use, a platform on which to analyze their progress as well as features that assists therapists in helping their patients, reports Design Indaba.

The design for the Connextyle rehabilitation shirt integrates eco-friendly knit fabrics into the garment and silver-coated conductive knit fabric into the technical sleeves.

A person holding a glass of water
Image credit: Jessica Smarsch

“The reason for creating a full garment (as opposed to sticking patches on the skin, or strapping sensors on the arms) was to let patients feel as comfortable and natural as possible during the months-long rehabilitation process,” says Smarsch.

Patients who have suffered a stroke perform exercises and create audio and visual patterns through body movement which increases neuronal connections. This multi-sensory stimulation system is more effective at creating new neural pathways, helping patients to relearn how to use the body.

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“When I began adapting the design system for stroke rehabilitation and developing the new app, my software developer (Vention Technologies) and I utilized the same principles from the original software but enhanced it with special features for patient and therapist use,” says Smarsch.

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Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)wearable-technologies.com.