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Special Issue "Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Intelligent Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Russel Torah

Smart Electronic Materials and Systems Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: smart textiles; printed electronics; wearable electronics; electronics inks; medical textiles; energy harvesting
Guest Editor
Dr. Kai Yang

Smart Electronic Materials and Systems Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: e-textiles; wearable therapeutics (e.g. stroke rehabilitation, pain relief, muscle exercise); ink formulations; printed electronics, electrodes, materials and fabrication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Smart textiles and wearable technology are set to greatly impact our everyday lives over the coming decades; developing from niche to mainstream applications. Textiles are ubiquitous in many applications, spanning fashion, furnishings, automotive, aerospace, military and medical applications.  Adding electronic functionality to textiles, either directly via electronic yarns or indirectly via printing or integration adds further value to the key textile qualities of comfort, protection and aesthetic.

The introduction of sensors into textiles, either individually or in arrays provides a huge opportunity for researchers to develop novel sensor devices, materials and fabrication methods.  As a consequence, other research opportunities are available for end users to make use of these novel instrumented fabrics to obtain previously unavailable sensor data.  However, there are still significant research challenges for this nascent technology; improvements to robustness, reliability, washability and manufacturability of both the e-textiles and the sensor devices and materials.  Improvements in these key areas as well as new applications for these sensor technologies are currently driving the research community.

To highlight some of the latest developments in this exciting and relevant field, we invite you to consider submitting a manuscript to our upcoming Special Issue “Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors”. Both research papers and review articles will be considered. We welcome submissions spanning topics across smart textiles, sensory textiles, wearable sensors, interactive textiles and embedded intelligence for smart wearable devices.

Dr. Russel Torah
Dr. Kai Yang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

In the context of smart fabrics and wearable devices, we solicit papers covering (but not limited to) one or more of the following topics:

  • Sensor devices and technologies
  • Electronic yarns and novel fabric materials
  • Healthcare and medical prototypes and applications
  • Rehabilitation, sensory monitoring and injury prevention
  • Creative industry applications, interactive experiences
  • Innovative sensor applications and case studies
  • Hardware and software co-design and architectures
  • Smart textiles and printed electronics/sensors
  • Miniaturisation, integration, packaging, wearability and user-acceptance
  • Reliability, washability and durability
  • Novel manufacturing techniques
  • Data fusion or processing of multiple sensor inputs
  • Energy harvesting and power storage
  • System energy/power management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Ambulatory Evaluation of ECG Signals Obtained Using Washable Textile-Based Electrodes Made with Chemically Modified PEDOT:PSS
Sensors 2019, 19(2), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19020416
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Abstract
A development of washable PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate) polyamide textile-based electrodes is an interesting alternative to the traditional Ag/AgCl disposable electrodes, usually used in clinical practice, helping to improve medical assessment and treatment before apparition or progress of patients’ cardiovascular symptoms. This study [...] Read more.
A development of washable PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate) polyamide textile-based electrodes is an interesting alternative to the traditional Ag/AgCl disposable electrodes, usually used in clinical practice, helping to improve medical assessment and treatment before apparition or progress of patients’ cardiovascular symptoms. This study was conducted in order to determine whether physical properties of PEDOT:PSS had a significant impact on the coated electrode’s electrocardiogram (ECG) signal quality, particularly after 50 washing cycles in a domestic laundry machine. Tests performed, included the comparison of two PEDOT:PSS solutions, in term of viscosity with emphasis on wetting tests, including surface tension and contact angle measurements. In addition, polyamide textile fabrics were used as substrate to make thirty electrodes and to characterize the amount of PEDOT:PSS absorbed as a function of time. The results showed that surface tension of PEDOT:PSS had a significant impact on the wetting of polyamide textile fabric and consequently on the absorbed amount. In fact, lower values of surface tension of the solution lead to low values contact angles between PEDOT:PSS and textile fabric (good wettability). Before washing, no significant difference has been observed among signal-to-noise ratios measured (SNR) for coated electrodes by the two PEDOT:PSS solutions. However, after 50 washing cycles, SNR decreased strongly for electrodes coated by the solution that had low viscosity, since it contained less solid contents. That was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy images (SEM) and also by analyzing the color change of electrodes based on the calculation of CIELAB color space coordinates. Moreover, spectral power density of recorded ECG signals has been computed and presented. All cardiac waves were still visible in the ECG signals after 50 washing cycles. Furthermore, an experienced cardiologist considered that all the ECG signals acquired were acceptable. Accordingly, our newly developed polyamide textile-based electrodes seem to be suitable for long-term monitoring. The study also provided new insights into the better choice of PEDOT:PSS formulation as a function of a specific process in order to manufacture cheaper electrodes faster. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Design and Development of a Low-Cost Wearable Glove to Track Forces Exerted by Workers in Car Assembly Lines
Sensors 2019, 19(2), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19020296
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
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Abstract
Wearables are gaining widespread use and technologies are making it possible to monitor human physical activity and behaviour as part of connected infrastructures. Many companies see wearables as an opportunity to enhance worker safety since they can monitor their workers’ activity in real [...] Read more.
Wearables are gaining widespread use and technologies are making it possible to monitor human physical activity and behaviour as part of connected infrastructures. Many companies see wearables as an opportunity to enhance worker safety since they can monitor their workers’ activity in real life scenarios. One of the goals of this technology is to integrate existing electronic components, such as sensors or conductors, in order to create fully wearable systems. This integration is constrained not only by technical factors but also by user requirements and internal company standards. This paper considers such constraints and presents preliminary research for the design of a wearable glove as a new tool to track forces exerted by workers in car assembly lines. The objective of the glove is to measure forces and compare these to maximum forces already identified by the company. Thus, the main objectives are to: (1) integrate the components based on the requirements of the users and the context of application, and (2) provide a new tool that can be used “in situ” to track workers. This study was carried out in close collaboration with Volkswagen through a human-centred iterative design process. Thus, this paper presents the development of a wearable device glove based on a specific design methodology where both the human and technological aspects are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle A Piezoresistive Tactile Sensor for a Large Area Employing Neural Network
Sensors 2019, 19(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19010027
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 15 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
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Abstract
Electronic skin is an important means through which robots can obtain external information. A novel flexible tactile sensor capable of simultaneously detecting the contact position and force was proposed in this paper. The tactile sensor had a three-layer structure. The upper layer was [...] Read more.
Electronic skin is an important means through which robots can obtain external information. A novel flexible tactile sensor capable of simultaneously detecting the contact position and force was proposed in this paper. The tactile sensor had a three-layer structure. The upper layer was a specially designed conductive film based on indium-tin oxide polyethylene terephthalate (ITO-PET), which could be used for detecting contact position. The intermediate layer was a piezoresistive film used as the force-sensitive element. The lower layer was made of fully conductive material such as aluminum foil and was used only for signal output. In order to solve the inconsistencies and nonlinearity of the piezoresistive properties for large areas, a Radial Basis Function (RBF) neural network was used. This includes input, hidden, and output layers. The input layer has three nodes representing position coordinates, X, Y, and resistor, R. The output layer has one node representing force, F. A sensor sample was fabricated and experiments of contact position and force detection were performed on the sample. The results showed that the principal function of the tactile sensor was feasible. The sensor sample exhibited good consistency and linearity. The tactile sensor has only five lead wires and can provide the information support necessary for safe human—computer interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle A Flexible Tactile Sensor with Irregular Planar Shape Based on Uniform Electric Field
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4445; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18124445
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract
Tactility is an essential perception for intelligent equipment to acquire external information. It can improve safety and performance during human-machine interactions. Based on the uniqueness theorem of the electrostatic field, a novel flexible film tactile sensor that can detect contact position and be [...] Read more.
Tactility is an essential perception for intelligent equipment to acquire external information. It can improve safety and performance during human-machine interactions. Based on the uniqueness theorem of the electrostatic field, a novel flexible film tactile sensor that can detect contact position and be made into any plane shape is proposed in this paper. The tactile sensor included an indium tin oxide (ITO) film, which was uniformly coated on the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate. A specially designed strong conductive line was arranged along the edge of the flexible ITO film, which has weak conductivity. A bias excitation was applied to both ends of the strong conductive line. Through the control of the shape of the strong conductive line, a uniform electric field can be constructed in the whole weak conductive plane. According to the linear relationship between position and potential in the uniform electric field, the coordinate of the contact position can be determined by obtaining the potential of the contact point in the weak conducting plane. The sensor uses a three-layer structure, including an upper conductive layer, an intermediate isolation layer, and a lower conductive layer. A tactile sensor sample was fabricated. The experiment results showed that the principle of the tactile sensor used for the contact position detection is feasible and has certain precision of position detection. The sensor has good flexibility, and can be made into any plane shape, and has only four wires. It is capable of covering large areas of robot arms, and provides safety solutions for most robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Manufacturing Variability and Washing on Embroidery Textile Sensors
Sensors 2018, 18(11), 3824; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18113824
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
In this work, an embroidered textile moisture sensor is presented. The sensor is based on a capacitive interdigitated structure embroidered on a cotton substrate with an embroidery conductor yarn composed of 99% pure silver plated nylon yarn 140/17 dtex. In order to evaluate [...] Read more.
In this work, an embroidered textile moisture sensor is presented. The sensor is based on a capacitive interdigitated structure embroidered on a cotton substrate with an embroidery conductor yarn composed of 99% pure silver plated nylon yarn 140/17 dtex. In order to evaluate the sensor sensitivity, the impedance of the sensor has been measured by means of a impedance meter (LCR) from 20 Hz to 20 kHz in a climatic chamber with a sweep of the relative humidity from 25% to 65% at 20 °C. The experimental results show a clear and controllable dependence of the sensor impedance with the relative humidity. Moreover, the reproducibility of the sensor performance subject to the manufacturing process variability and washing process is also evaluated. The results show that the manufacturing variability introduces a moisture measurement error up to 4%. The washing process impact on the sensor behavior after applying the first washing cycle implies a sensitivity reduction higher than 14%. Despite these effects, the textile sensor keeps its functionality and can be reused in standard conditions. Therefore, these properties point out the usefulness of the proposed sensor to develop wearable applications within the health and fitness scope including when the user needs to have a life cycle longer than one-time use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles and Wearable Sensors)
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