Smart textiles have great potential in the fields of sport science and medicine, and even in the entertainment industry (e.g. motion-capture technology). This technology enhances that potential, by creating a 3D digital twin of a smart textile, enabling measurement of deformation and movement of the smart textile as it is worn.
3D monitoring for smart textiles
3D real-time monitoring of smart textiles
The technology takes advantage of the very nature of smart textiles, that they are an interwoven mesh of electrical or conductive fibres. Co-ordinates can be derived from the intersections of these fibres, providing physical measuring points in space in a 3D computer model. When force is applied to the textile, for example, as it stretches while being worn over a body part, the distances between the co-ordinates change, which can be measured and applied to the 3D model in real-time. The technology offers a great replacement for tensiomyography, a technique for measuring muscle contraction frequently used in sports medicine and rehabilitation. A conventional tensiomyography machine is a bulky piece of equipment and, furthermore, can only take single point measurements across the muscle. A smart textile has many points of measurement – literally every intersection of the fibres – and can be worn and therefore moved in naturally (as opposed to lying down for a tensiomyographic measurement). Similarly, in the entertainment setting, motion-capture technology relies on point markers and how they reflect light. With a smart textile, many more data points offer a much better resolution. Lastly, the 3D twin-generating software can be applied to any kind of smart textile, meaning many more applications may be possible in the future.
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