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Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2314;

Soft Smart Garments for Lower Limb Joint Position Analysis

Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio, 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
Department of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Via Morego, 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 September 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable and Ambient Sensors for Healthcare and Wellness Applications)
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Revealing human movement requires lightweight, flexible systems capable of detecting mechanical parameters (like strain and pressure) while being worn comfortably by the user, and not interfering with his/her activity. In this work we address such multifaceted challenge with the development of smart garments for lower limb motion detection, like a textile kneepad and anklet in which soft sensors and readout electronics are embedded for retrieving movement of the specific joint. Stretchable capacitive sensors with a three-electrode configuration are built combining conductive textiles and elastomeric layers, and distributed around knee and ankle. Results show an excellent behavior in the ~30% strain range, hence the correlation between sensors’ responses and the optically tracked Euler angles is allowed for basic lower limb movements. Bending during knee flexion/extension is detected, and it is discriminated from any external contact by implementing in real time a low computational algorithm. The smart anklet is designed to address joint motion detection in and off the sagittal plane. Ankle dorsi/plantar flexion, adduction/abduction, and rotation are retrieved. Both knee and ankle smart garments show a high accuracy in movement detection, with a RMSE less than 4° in the worst case. View Full-Text
Keywords: wearable system; strain sensor; bending; soft tactile sensor; textile; capacitive sensor; exoskeleton; human motion monitoring wearable system; strain sensor; bending; soft tactile sensor; textile; capacitive sensor; exoskeleton; human motion monitoring

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Totaro, M.; Poliero, T.; Mondini, A.; Lucarotti, C.; Cairoli, G.; Ortiz, J.; Beccai, L. Soft Smart Garments for Lower Limb Joint Position Analysis. Sensors 2017, 17, 2314.

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