Wear and Forget Smart Textiles for Healthcare Applications
Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
Research theme: Medical Technologies and Advanced Materials
School: School of Art & Design
Low-Cost Easy-to-Manufacture Electronics for Healthcare Applications
Wearable devices have gone from science fiction to reality. Smart textiles could revolutionise the way we interact with the world. But we haven’t yet reached the goal of creating a textile with electronic functionality that still retains its softness, flexibility and conformability.
Textiles conform to our bodies as they bend and shear, but so far, existing electronics like polymer films haven’t been able to achieve the same flexibility. An integrated, machine-washable textile that can be produced on conventional equipment could have a huge impact on the world. Every industry from aerospace to sports will benefit.
Addressing the Challenge
Searching for the holy grail of wearable electronics
Our Advanced Textiles Research Group is pioneering a new solution. We are experimenting with connecting semiconductor sensor chips to copper wires within the fibres of a yarn. The technology is so integrated into the fabric that people will forget they are wearing electronics.
We use polymer micro-pods to protect the sensitive electronics. But to evolve the process, we need to study how this affects the functionality. As part of our research, we are gathering the data we need for regulatory approval. Our aim is to create commercially viable medical devices with this revolutionary material.
Professor Tilak Dias leads the group. Our team includes staff, fellows and postgraduates with expertise in:
- Advanced knitting and weaving technology
- Mechanical engineering
- Textiles engineering