The tsunami of Health Tech device development keeps growing. In spite of apparent waning market interest in fitness wearables, research continues at a rapid pace by university, hospital, private industry, and government researchers. Digital health development is driven by the potential time and cost savings. Devices and systems designed to check, monitor, record, and report an ever-wider range of biomarkers have the potential to keep patients and their healthcare professionals better informed than ever before. However, two important factors threaten the success of these devices. Without patient compliance and accurate, trustworthy, and actionable data delivery to physicians and providers, all the wristbands, smartphone apps, and implants won’t do much actual good and their development expense and complexity could delay or halt further progress.

Nanowear develops cloth-based diagnostic nanosensor technology. The company uses the cloth to construct undergarments that patients wear daily. Rather than putting on or plugging into a techy device, patients simply get dressed. On December 1, 2016, Nanowear received FDA clearance for its first product, SimplECG. SimpleECG measures heart rate and respiratory rate data directly from the undergarment and transfers the data to a mobile device app — initially on an iPhone — where it is then transmitted to a web-based portal for healthcare professional review.

The goal for Nanowear’s garment-based sensing technology addresses the major threats to health tech advancement, improving diagnostic data capture and transfer with easy, patient-friendly technology. The company envisions future applications in which nanosensor-garments can measure signals “directly from the skin without conductive gels, adhesives, or skin preparation.” Future applications already under consideration by the company include neurological, electrical impedance, and sleep monitoring, all enabled with nanosensor garments.