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While adoption of wearable technologies is increasing, there remain questions about applicability and clinical validity for their role in the improvement of medical interventions for chronic conditions. This chapter focuses primarily on wearable smart textiles which have potential to transform medical practices. Our overarching goal is to design wearable devices with clinical accuracy and ease of use. Patient-friendliness is important such that adoption into home-based telemedicine interventions of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is fast and easy. PD is a neurological progressive disorder characterized by movement symptoms including slowness of movement, stiffness, tremors at rest, and walking and standing instability. With this motivation, we present the design, development, and validation of WearUP, a smart glove made of smart textiles for PD. In particular, we have carefully designed experiments on WearUP to test their repeatability, precision, and sensitivity for quantifying the motor symptoms present in the finger tapping task. WearUP was tested using a robotic hand that was programmed to make precise finger tapping movements. Later, we conducted a pilot study on nine healthy human participants who wore the WearUP glove and performed finger tapping tasks. The repeatability test on the robotic hand showed the variance of finger tapping frequency which was less than . WearUP also performed with a high degree of accuracy and precision in human participants. When tested on healthy human participants, the variance of the finger tapping frequency was in the range of 0.001-0.1. Our developments and promising experimental results open a new door for telemedicine to adopt smart textiles because they have potential to offer patient-friendliness without compromising clinical accuracy.

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Wearable Technology in Medicine and Health Care