Created washable sensor that can be integrated into the fabric

Forget about smart watches. It’s time for clever t-shirts. Researchers from the school of engineering UBC Okanagan have developed an inexpensive sensor that can be inserted into tissue and composite materials.the research is still relatively new, this sensor could pave the way for smart clothes that can monitor the movements of the person. Microscopic built-in sensor is able to recognize the local traffic on the stretch woven, treated neoplastically graphene.

They, in turn, is able to read the activity of the body, explains Professor of engineering Mina Hofer.

Sensors for smart clothing

“Microscopic sensors are changing the way to monitor machines and people,” says Hofer. “The combination of shrinking technologies and increasing the accuracy promises a very bright future in this field.”

These “shrinking technology” is used a phenomenon called piezoresistive resistance of the Electromechanical response of the material when it is under pressure. Such tiny sensors showed great promise in the detection of human movements and can be used to monitor heart rate or temperature control, explains Hofer.

Her research shows the potential to create cheap, sensitive and stretchable sensor made of yarn. It can be woven into spandex, then wrap in elastic silicone shell. Such a shell will protect the conductive layer from the unpleasant conditions and provide a washable sensors that can be worn straight with the clothes.

Although the idea of smart clothing fabrics which can tell the user when to drink or when to rest — can change the industry of athletics, UBC Professor Abbas Milani believes that the sensor will find other uses. It can track the deformation of composite fabrics reinforced with fibers that are currently used in the fields of automotive, aerospace and marine industries.

Cheap stretchable composite sensor showed high sensitivity and ability to detect small deformations like stretching of the yarn and deformation in inaccessible places inside the composite laminates. Tests have shown that further improvement in the accuracy of the sensor can be achieved due to the accurate selection of a mixture of materials comprising the sensor, and improve its conductivity and sensitivity. Such a sensor could detect “shrinkage fibers” in the process of production of advanced composite structures used in aircraft or vehicles.