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Advanced Textiles Research Group

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.

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.

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

  • Light emitting textiles
  • Automotive textiles
  • Knitted helmet cover with acoustic sensing E-yarns
    Knitted helmet cover with acoustic sensing E-yarns
  • Breathable knitted prosthetic sleeve
    Breathable knitted prosthetic sleeve
  • Knitted electrodes designed to monitor ECG remotely
    Knitted electrodes designed to monitor ECG remotely
  • Knitted heated glove
    Knitted heated glove
  • Light emitting E-yarn
    Light emitting E-yarn
  • LED E-Yarn embroidered onto a dress
    LED E-Yarn embroidered onto a dress
  • Light emitting E-yarn
    Light emitting E-yarn
  • Breathable knitted prosthetic sleeve
    Breathable knitted prosthetic sleeve
  • Knitted virtual reality glove
    Knitted virtual reality glove

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

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or take a look at the blog.

To find out more about Advanced Textiles Research download the brochure.

For academic enquires and for more information about the research group, please contact the Research Group Leader, Professor Tilak Dias, by email or telephone +44 (0) 115 848 6518.

Re:search Re:imagined

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:

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 83% of our research in Art and Design was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of research impact.


Our research is supported by:

Industrial Partners

Academic Partners

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.

Related staff


Senior Research Fellows

Research Fellows

  • Dr Arash Shahidi
  • Kalana Marasinghe
  • Dr Neranga Abeywickrama
  • Nour Nashad

Experimental Officers

PhD Students

  • Matholo Kgatuke
  • M-Nour Nashed
  • Zahra Rahemtulla
  • Sonia Reynolds
  • Rachael Wickenden


"Our leading-edge technology in combination with our cross-disciplinary expertise allows us to bridge the gap between different areas of textile research to create complete solutions."
  • Electronic Textiles Research Laboratory
  • Advanced Textiles Evaluation Laboratory
  • Knitting Research Laboratory
  • Weaving Research Laboratory
  • Flexural Composites Laboratory