Technology Abstract

3D monitoring for smart textiles

3D real-time monitoring of smart textiles

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.

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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