Wearable technology is set to supercharge the catwalk. Our clothes are becoming smarter with the integration of stretchable electronic circuits into textiles. The STRENTEX project’s ERA Chair action aims to boost the research potential of the Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad, in Serbia. Building on a network of existing international, regional and national partners, as well as SMEs and stakeholders, the STRENTEX project will contribute to the development of patches to monitor health, sensors in baby slings, theranostic wound dressings and other similar products, thanks to establishing the Center of excellence in the field of Stretchable and Textile Electronics and through recruitment of the ERA Chair holder and his team.
Some key info about our project can be seen below and, in our flyer, found here
|Full Title||ERA Chair for emerging technologies and innovative research in Stretchable and Textile Electroncs|
|Type of action:||Horizon 2020, WIDESPREAD-04-2019: ERA Chairs|
One of our primary interests is exploring the suitability of conductive threads for various sensing tasks. The idea is simple. Threads are found in almost every garment we are all wearing. If we can achieve adding extra functionalities to these, then the user experiences virtually zero discomfort, while at the same time benefiting from added features. To date, we have successfully created face masks which by using conductive threads can provide heating, can detect fluctuations in humidity of the respired air, and thus indicate problems with the respiratory system, such as pulmonary capacity. Additionally, we have developed heating patches that are suitable for on-body application and coupled with the relevant control and readout electronics we develop, can aid in a variety of dermatological conditions.
In addition to the realization of innovative textile structures and sensors, the members of the STRENTEX team are also devoted to the development of readout electronics and methods for processing of measured values. As the result, we have developed in-house: (a) electronics for interface with facemask-based respiration monitoring sensors, (b) a portable device for wireless readout of passive LC sensors, (c) electronics for regulated and safe heating of facemasks, and (d) in-situ modelling and parameter estimation of the sensed variable. Each of those achievements is presented to scientific and general audience through peer reviewed journal article publications, media interviews and fair participations.
A textile-based strain sensor that can be wrapped onto the body (in a form of belt) and can properly monitor continuous breathing rate is potentially helpful for monitoring patients in daily settings who suffer from chronic respiratory disorders. A prototype was designed, fabricated, and is in the process of multiple trials, working on the principle of changing the resistance of a conductive thread by changing its elongation when the lungs inflate or deflate.
Experimentation so far yields a linear increase in resistance with respect to increasing stretch, however returning at a different value when the person exhales. Currently the team is working on exploring different coatings to improve the reliability of this sensor, and potentially explore commercialization.
Wearable sensors have become part of our daily life for health monitoring. The detection of moisture content is critical for many applications. Textile-based embroidered sensors were developed that can be integrated with a bandage for wound management purposes. The sensor comprised an interdigitated electrode embroidered on a cotton substrate with silver-tech 150 and HC 12 threads, respectively, that have silver coated continuous filaments and 100% polyamide with silver-plated yarn. The said sensor is a capacitive sensor with some leakage. The change in the dielectric constant of the substrate as a result of moisture affects the value of capacitance and, thus, the admittance of the sensor. The moisture sensor’s operation is verified by measuring its admittance at 1 MHz and the change in moisture level (1–50) µL. It is observed that the sensitivity of both sensors is comparable. The identically fabricated sensors show similar response and sensitivity while wash test shows the stability of sensor after washing. The developed sensor is also able to detect the moisture caused by both artificial sweat and blood serum, which will be of value in developing new sensors tomorrow for smart wound-dressing applications.