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What can smart textiles do for our health and safety?

What can smart textiles do for our health and safety?

When it comes to smart textiles, people may more often think of convenient "music jackets", cool stage performance clothes, professional sports wearable devices ...... In fact, besides these applications that make people's life "cooler", smart textiles can also contribute to people's health and safety. In fact, besides these applications that make people's life "cooler", smart textiles can also contribute to people's health and safety, such as developing smart/functional textiles with functions such as positioning, track recording, physiological state monitoring display, wireless transmission, movement aid, question and answer for the special needs of the mentally handicapped, disabled, elderly and children, which can provide protection for the personal safety of special people or bring convenience to life.


Navigation and anti-wandering for the blind:


Bahadir et al. designed a smart navigation T-shirt for the visually impaired. This soft, comfortable smart T-shirt is woven with PA66 and elastic yarn, and its smart navigation system is realized by embedding silver-plated yarn to build a circuit system with integrated electronic components and integrating a microcontroller, four ultrasonic sensors, eight vibration motors, and two power supplies on top of that.

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The 4 ultrasonic sensors are used to detect obstacles and calculate information such as distance and size of obstacles as well as human movement speed through the programmed obstacle avoidance control algorithm based on neuro-fuzzy logic, and send left/right steering or small, medium, large and very large angle steering action guidance to the vibration motors after linguistic variable processing through the microcontroller. The smart navigation T-shirt has been tested to show stable sensed navigation and the actuated steering signal can be transmitted to the vibration motor to be sensed by the user within 1s. In actual use, all integrated electronics can be removed for washing the garment. The same concept can also be designed for the location monitoring of disabled and elderly people in case of danger such as wandering.


Disease monitoring and prevention:


Since some major diseases such as cancer have a long time course of onset and can be fatal once they develop, accurate monitoring of the likelihood of disease onset in the early stages can greatly reduce the lethality of the disease. Intelligent textiles can provide simple and effective disease monitoring functions, such as the U.S. digital health company First Warning Systems developed with biological temperature change sensor (CBRTM) underwear, can detect early breast cancer by monitoring the small metabolic temperature changes caused by cancer cells, and the data analysis results pushed to the user's cell phone. According to the report, its monitoring function is even more accurate than the early breast cancer detection methods commonly used in medical treatment, patients in the test successfully detected in advance with breast disease.

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The knitted maternity prenatal monitoring bellyband (Bellyband PrenatalMonitor), developed by a research team at the ExCITe Center at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, allows real-time monitoring of the baby's heart rate and pressure levels in the womb as well as the mother's delivery information, and wirelessly transmits the data to a monitoring device, promising to reduce tedious pregnancy checks. These smart clothing ideas can also be used for physical health monitoring of the elderly, children, etc.


Outdoor sports safety and protection:


In terms of sports protection, the use of smart textiles can make sports protective gear more comfortable, lightweight and reliable. Two students from Lund University in Sweden have invented a cycling "airbag helmet" called H?vding that can be integrated into clothing. This helmet is different from traditional helmets, made of lightweight and wear-resistant nylon, when the impact is placed in the collar of the helium inflator immediately inflated, the use of airbags to provide the back of the head, side and forehead protection, than the traditional helmet protection area is larger and does not obstruct the wearer's vision. After the helmet is inflated, the pressure is maintained for a few seconds to prevent multiple impacts during an accident, followed by a slow deflation.


Chemical company Dow Corning (Dow Corning) in the warp knitting spacer fabric using shear thickening technology developed DeflexionTM fabric, not only to ensure the high breathability required for sports fabrics, but also to prevent the wearer from high-energy impact damage, through the multi-layer fabric structure design can also improve the impact performance. Currently, the impact fabric has been experimented and tested in the motorcycle/bike riding clothes of Rukka, a Nordic professional sports brand, and in the Shockwave series of Henri Lloyd, a British outdoor brand. In addition, the product can be used for impact protection in shoes, electronics, etc.


GradoZero Espace company based on shape memory material developed Barak Rafa cap K-Cap can provide intelligent protection for high altitude mountaineers. k-Cap consists of two layers of knitted fabric, the inner layer of which is made of shape memory material, can adapt to the wearer's head and face contour tightening when the temperature drops, the outer fabric is woven by two layers of high elasticity yarn, which can allow and with the wearer's head free rotation without affecting its Grado Zero Espace also uses this shape memory material in its S1 sailing suit, which adjusts the permeability and breathability of the garment according to the wearer's body heat and sweat. The garment also features impact-absorbing pads made of viscoelastic polyurethane memory foam and electroluminescent film material in special areas to provide impact protection and high visibility protection in dark conditions.


Recommended textile testing equipment: Taber Rotary Abraser / Stoll Abrasion Tester / martindale abrasion testing machine / Vapour permeation rate tester

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