The Knowledge Foundation has granted just over two million SEK to a research project developing a suit with textile electronics designed to stimulate muscle nerves. The research will be conducted at the University of Borås by the research team MT3, Medical TextTTronics.
The project entitled The Elektrodress: Methods for imperceptible integration of textile electronics, has been granted funds from HÖG 11 and is a three-year, collaborative project together with the companies Inerventions AB and FOV Fabrics. The research work will be coordinated by Dr. Fernando Seoane and will mainly be conducted at the School of Engineering and the technology labs at Smart Textiles.
The progress in the textile electronic field has made it possible to develop new application areas in the field of personal health and fitness. However, when it comes to manufacturing processes for different types of textile electronic garments, the business community is far behind. The range of available products is very limited.
However, research has yielded positive results for Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) for children with disorders involving muscle spasms such as CP and MS. These children may benefit by usiong a suit that allows treatment to be administered in their homes. Today, the procedure requires electrodes to be attached to the body, which is both time-consuming and not always a pleasant experience, why a tight suit that has electrodes placed at strategic positions would facilitate treatment. The idea is for the Elektrodress to be made in a completely seamless textile material and it is to consist of different parts which together form a suit much like a diving suit.
The goal of the research project is to develop techniques to integrate seamless textile electronics suited for manufacture. The available methods for integration of textile electronics are difficult to apply in combination with existing manufacturing techniques and limited to superficial integration.
The University of Borås contributes expertise regarding medical textile electronics, Inerventions AB contribute knowledge of EMS treatments through a prototype of the Elektrodress and FOV Fabrics contribute knowledge about the manufacturing process of technical textiles.
The Elektrodress is also a company-driven project within Smart Textiles Company Driven Projects.
Last year, Inerventions AB participated in the Swedish version of the TV-show Dragon’s Den to advance the Elektrodress project. Link to Elektrodress on Youtube
FOV Fabrics: Borås-based company that specialises in woven technical textiles and functional textiles. Today, the company conducts research projects in smart textiles together with the University of Borås.
Text: Solveig Klug
Photo: Henrik Bengtsson