Tom Martin and his colleagues in the Virginia Tech E-Textiles Lab are attempting to develop clothes that appear and feel normal but provide sensing and computing capabilities. Because the wires and sensors in e-textiles are woven into the fabric, wearable computers can be constructed as shirts, pants, hats, gloves or any clothing items to monitor factors ranging from how fast and far a jogger is running to the blood pressure and heart rate of a cardiac patient.
These e-textiles will be able to sense their own shapes, the wearer’s motions, and the positions of the sensing elements.
According to the researcher, current e-textiles present problems associated with the placement and movement of sensors. Some sensors work well only if they are placed a certain distance apart on a garment. If shirt sleeves or pants legs are rolled up or other changes occur while an e-textile garment is being worn, the network of sensors needs to be able to “sense” the reconfiguration in order to perform effectively.
The ultimate goal of this research is therefore to create a complete design framework that will enable novel applications that are not possible with existing e-textiles technology.
Via Clippings PhysOrg.