Wearable technology has caught on to progress health and fitness. Simply worn on the body, smart garments can, for instance, track activity. Sensors in functional clothing could also help optimize exercises by monitoring movement sequences. A novel transparent sensor material developed by Fraunhofer ISC enables movement measuring sensors to be printed onto textiles.
The sensor materials coming to use are flexible, transparent, and suitable for various applications also beside of smart textiles: They register pressure and deformation and can thus serve as touch or motion sensors. Their sensitivity to temperature deviations further enables monitoring of temperature changes or non-contact interaction, e.g. as proximity sensors.
Smart textiles like this could be employed in health care or assisted living.
In eldercare, everyday life movement sequences could be monitored and failure noticed. Additionally, it would be possible to monitor body signals of in-patients, such as temperature or breathing. This could be especially beneficial for bedridden patients or babies. Some day, even heart rate surveillance may be possible. Last but not least, functional sensor clothing could achieve cost reductions in the health care system. On top of assuming patient monitoring functions it could add to preventive health care.
In addition to printed sensors on textiles Fraunhofer ISC shows textile-integrated pressure sensors made of silicone e.g. to measure pressure in shoes.