In the recent decade, there had been numerous advancements in wearable technology, such as smartwatches that can monitor breathing and blood oxygen levels. However, the market has even more tremendous potential with wearables that might be able to move according to an individual’s physical activity, like while he/she is playing a sport, etc. In addition, many believe that this technology could even offer feedback to a person to improve technique on a particular physical activity in the coming future.
Taking a big step towards attaining this goal, a company has developed a material using special fibers to sense the user’s movements through touch. This is an enormous breakthrough for Smart Fabrics and Textile Industry Market as the new form of smart clothes could help in athletic training, health monitoring, or rehabilitation for elder-care facilities. Furthermore, the evidence shows that the cloth can determine when a person is walking, sitting, etc. This ability would make the smart cloth applicable for a vast arena of applications.
The team used tactile electronics to develop the new smart fabric. They produced a mixture of conventional textile fibers and a small amount of custom-made functional fibers that can sense pressure from the user who is wearing the garment. The resulting clothes have numerous advantageous factors. The socks can predict motion as per different sequences of tactile footprints correlated with particular poses. It occurs in accordance as the user transitions from one pose to another. Their full-sized vest could also perceive the wearer’s activity, pose, and also texture of the surface that came in contact.
The biggest benefit of this innovation is that, unlike the currently available wearable electronics, these can be easily incorporated into traditional industrial-scale clothing applications. In addition, the machine-knitted tactile textiles are breathable, stretchable, and soft, which helps them take several forms without a problem.
Traditionally, scientists have found it rather hard to develop a wearable material that can be mass-produced and has high-accuracy data over all the sensors. This is because usage of many sensors results in some of them not working at all or working worse than others. Thus, the team constructed a self-correcting mechanism that recognizes and adjusts itself when some particular sensors in the design are off base. It does so through a self-supervised machine learning algorithm.
The research team sees high potential in smart wearable devices and stated that the future might bring robots that aren’t tactilely blind and have skins that can help them in tactile sensing similar to humans. This new clothing area with high-resolution tactile sensing opens up a new area of opportunity for researchers to explore and research upon.
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