The shirt that monitors respiration and heart rate 

Owing to the development of a new kind of fibre, it will be possible to make clothes that monitors both heart and respiration rates in the future. Together with the research institution Swerea IVF, Smart Textiles doctoral student Anja Lund has been able to construct a fibre that generates electricity when in motion.

The phenomenon that the fibre utilizes is called piezoelectricity and, in simple terms, converts mechanical movements into electricity. Although several materials, such as quartz and ceramic materials, have this property, what Anja Lund was curious about when she began her research together with Swerea IVF a few years ago was whether it would be possible to use it for textile fibres.

She soon found out, however, that utilizing the piezoelectric properties of a fibre is not an easy matter. Piezoelectric polymers are primarily applied in film form and by applying an electrically conductive coating to both sides, they function as two electrodes. However, coating a single fibre to create two separate electrodes is more difficult.
– We simply had to produce our own fibres and insert a conductive core to solve the problem, Anja Lund says.

Because the fibres are electrically conductive and piezoelectric, she identifies possible future application areas in for example the field of health care.
– Although there are devices that can be connected to garments in order to monitor for example heart rate, these fibres will allow equipping garments with these properties already during manufacture.

Piezoelektriska fibrer. Anja Lunds forskning.

 

Now, Anja Lund and the Fibre Technology team at Swerea IVF are looking for companies to contact them and present ideas and suggestions for future products in which the fibres can be used.

Read more about Anja Lund

Text: Therese Rosenblad