Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
Research theme: Medical Technologies and Advanced Materials
School: School of Art & Design
The Advanced Textiles Research Group (ATRG), formed by Professor Tilak Dias in 2010, is a thriving research group at Nottingham Trent University. Nottingham Trent University is a leading institution for advanced textiles research with a global reputation for designing electronically active wearable technology.
The Advanced Textile Research Group’s research includes work on:
Electronic functionality is embedded within yarns and textiles. Visit the project website to find out more.
Flexural Composites Research Laboratory
Blending science and art to improve access to surgical education
Experimental new methodologies are embraced in our purpose-built laboratory at Nottingham Trent University: The Flexural Composites Research Laboratory is currently investigating a variety of materials and technologies to aid the manufacture of synthetic, living, soft tissues to enhance surgical and anatomical education.
Beginning with medical imaging data taken from CT and MRI scans of real, living patients; data is manipulated to create digital, 3-dimensional models of living organs, blood vessels, muscle, skin and other living, soft anatomy. These are recreated as digital models and 3D printed in-house.
The rigid, high-definition 3D printed models are then processed using new manufacturing methodologies developed by the Advanced Textiles Research Group, to recreate soft tissues as they appear in the living patient during surgery.
Simulating the tactility and appearance of a living patient in this way will offer trainee surgeons, in the very near future, a unique opportunity to learn the principles of surgery, from emergency trauma treatment to basic anatomy, in an immersive manner, whilst providing the psychological space to learn without the pressure of performance.
To achieve this, a variety of viscoelastic composite materials are being developed using blends of synthetic gels, waxes, oils and fibres to mimic a wide variety of living soft tissues.
These are developed in collaboration with surgeons to ensure authenticity of the tactility and aesthetic values and are further underpinned by adopting medical, contactless technologies to identify the mechanical characteristics of each soft tissue type.
The work is being led by Richard Arm [link to Richard’s profile], Advanced Textiles Research Group Research Fellow, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, a small team of individual specialist surgeons and special effects company SME- Trauma FX.
A prototype thoracic trauma trainer* has already been completed and user trials are currently underway alongside collaborators at the Royal College of Surgeons, Air Ambulance and Queens Medical Centre's Major Trauma Unit. * Warning: Some people may find this video disturbing due to graphic images of simulated body parts
Our research was recently voted by some of the UK's top surgeons, at the Royal College of Surgeons, as winner of the '2017 Transforming Surgical Education Award'.
Global media coverage by the BBC, Discovery Channel and CNN, in 2016, sparked world-wide interest in this research, leading to the formation of new, high-profile industry partnerships.
Other uses for the technology are currently unfolding, but include the support of implantable medical device design, demonstrative training and marketing for medical equipment, prosthetics and other wearable technologies, robotic surgery training environments and protective equipment testing.
Advanced knitting technology
Development of products for applications including medicine, terrestrial-communication systems and rehabilitation:
- Breathable prosthetic sleeves
- Electrodes for remote monitoring of heart rate variability
- Compression garments for management of lymphoedema
- Fabric antennae for communication systems
- Knitted heating products
- Knitted sensors
- Knitted shoes for orthotics
Advanced weaving technology
- Light emitting textiles
- Automotive textiles
Located in the University's School of Art & Design, the research group works closely with art and fashion colleagues, and has moved and grown within the School since its creation. Professor Dias, who leads the group, has over 35 years of research experience in this area, and has extensive industrial and academic contacts both within the UK and internationally.
The research group's areas of work include:
- Development of smart yarns by embedding semiconductor dice in yarns / fibres
- Advanced knitted and woven structures
- Knitted, heated textiles
- Flexible fabric antennae for communication systems
- Electronically-active textiles for medical and automotive applications
- Graduated compression garments for sports, rehabilitation, and the treatment of venous disease and lymphoedema
- Smart knitted structures for active moisture management
- Mimicry of living, biomechanical structures and biological surrogate synthetics
- Surgical, trauma and implant training simulators and phantom modelling
This group's research contributed towards the Advanced Textiles Impact Case Study for REF 2014.
To find out more about Advanced Textiles Research download the brochure.
To us, research is about more than writing papers and proposing new ideas. By daring to think differently, we’re disrupting the research landscape and finding the answers to the questions that really matter. From electronic textiles to the history of lace, we’re inspiring the brightest minds to rise up and find solutions to some of the most significant global challenges facing society.
Find out more: ntu.ac.uk/research
Our research is supported by:
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council: The UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- Royal Centre for Defence Medicine
- Innovate UK
- Advanced Therapeutic Materials: Custom fit compression garments
- Airbus: Aircraft, satellites and launch vehicles, plus navigation and secure communications
- BAE systems: Developing new technologies for commercial and military markets
- Bonnie Binary: Prototyping of e-textiles and associated wearables
- BSN Medical UK: Compression Therapy, Wound Care and Orthopaedics
- Camira Fabrics Ltd (Technical Knitting): Interiors and lifestyle sectors
- Centre for Process Innovation: Supporting the UK process manufacturing industry
- H. Stoll AG & Co. KG: Developing and manufacturing flat knitting machines and developer in the Fashion & Technology sector
- International Automotive Components: Automotive interiors technology expertise
- Intertronics: Quality materials, consumables and equipment for the technology and high performance assembly industries
- MAS holdings: Apparel and textile manufacturing
- Medicity: Business development for innovators in consumer healthcare, medical technology, diagnostics and beauty products
- Oxford Space Systems: Space technology, including lightweight antennas
- Plessey semiconductors: Innovative design and manufacture of electronics, including solid state lighting
- Polyco Healthline: Design and manufacture of protective gloves
- QinetiQ: Innovation in technology to provide products and services for government and commercial applications
- Shima Seiki: Knitting technology, especially development of flatbed knitting machines
- Smartlife: Specialists in smart garment technology
- Speedo: International swimwear brand
- Stretchline: Manufacture of elasticated plus intimate and active apparel
- Urgo Medical: Wound-healing solutions
- Zwick/Roell: Materials testing machines
- University of Southampton; Electronics and Computer Science: Research in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- University of Sheffield; Communications Research Group, Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering
- Loughborough University; Wireless Communications Research Group, School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering
- University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka; Department of Textiles and Clothing Technology
- Donghua University, China; College of Textiles
Working With Us
Core services we offer include:
- Fundamental research on the next generation of SMART textiles and intelligent fibre materials
- Applications for electronic yarns
- Fundamental and applied research on novel manufacturing technologies
- Innovative product development for industry
- Rapid prototyping minimising lead times
- Translation of technology for product manufacture
Core technology platforms can be easily adapted to meet individual needs. From leading-edge research and consultancy to first-rate testing facilities, let us be the perfect partner for your business.
For information about the Advanced Textiles Research Group, or about research or collaboration opportunities, contact Professor Tilak Dias.
Senior Research Fellows
- Dr Arash Shahidi
- Kalana Marasinghe
- Dr Neranga Abeywickrama
- Nour Nashad
- Matholo Kgatuke
- M-Nour Nashed
- Zahra Rahemtulla
- Sonia Reynolds
- Rachael Wickenden
- Electronic Textiles Research Laboratory
- Advanced Textiles Evaluation Laboratory
- Knitting Research Laboratory
- Weaving Research Laboratory
- Flexural Composites Laboratory