London, July 5 : European Union scientists have created a prototype T-shirt that uses small sensors to monitor the activity of individual muscles, and thereby may help people ensure that they do not overstrain their muscles during any activity. The garment developed by experts associated with the ConText Project may help athletes perfect their moves.
The shirt has 12-millimetre-wide sensors made from silver-coated thread printed onto it in the same way a normal plastic logo would be attached.
The sensors measure the electrical activity of contracting muscle tissue, and enable a computer to show exactly which muscles are being used during a particular movement, something that may be helpful for athletes in understanding better ways to use their strength.
"It could be useful for a sport with repetitive movements, like golf," New Scientist magazine quoted Craig Williams, a sports scientist from the University of Exeter, UK, who was not involved in the research, as saying.
To improve sensitivity, the sensors are shielded from external interference like radio signals.
"The sensor can even measure the (muscles') electric field through another T-shirt - it's very unobtrusive," said Torsten Linz from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Berlin, Germany, a member of the team that carried out the research.
Mike Caine, director of the Sports Technology Institute at Loughborough University, UK, believes that the T-shirt may be combined with heart and breathing monitors to take accurate measures as to how many calories have been burnt during exercise.