EPFL develops a smart textile technology

Service Engineering

A team at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have developed a smart textile technology which can be used to create anything from hospital bedsheets to observe patients movements to intelligent clothing.

The innovation is based on a uniquely developed sensor that can identify different types of fabric deformation. The fibre sensor is advantageous over fragile conventional sensors, which can only detect one kind of deformation.

“EPFL develops a smart textile technology.“

The team developed the fibres using an optical fibre fabrication process and liquid metal as a conductor.

Andreas Leber, Doctoral Assistant, stated: “Our technology works similar to a radar but it sends out electrical impulses instead of electromagnetic waves. The system measures the time between when a signal is sent out and when it’s received and uses that to determine the exact location, type and intensity of deformation. The structure is just a few micrometres thick and has to be perfect, otherwise it won’t work.”

Professor Fabien Sorin, project lead, stated: “The trick was to create transmission lines made entirely of flexible materials, using a simple method that can be scaled up easily,”

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