One of the hotbeds for research on wearable technology is the Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at North Carolina State University. The Center has received more than $11 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has forged partnerships with universities and corporations around the world.
ASSIST’s research focuses on four related areas. They are developing systems for energy harvesting and storage in order to power sensors. They also are looking for ways to use nanotechnology to reduce the amount of power required for sensors and supporting electronics. They are finding ways to combine these technologies to create wearable nanosensors, and they are working to combine all these technologies into intelligent processing chips that contain all the functions in a single, self-powered package.
To further their development, they also are working on creating testbeds for testing new approaches. They have self-powered wristband and chest patch testbeds already. They plan on putting these to use in finding correlations between environmental conditions and their impact on the health of people with allergies and auto-immune disease. They also want to use these platforms to provide continuous monitoring of biometric data for everything from helping individuals make healthy lifestyle choices to aiding emergency first responders.