Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smart clothes can improve occupational safety

24.03.2005


”Smart clothes” are clothes that employ new technologies: technological developments have made it possible to integrate electronic components into conventional garments. In demanding conditions, such as working in heavy industries, very specific demands are placed on work apparel and materials, as they must protect the wearer from any hazards found in the working environment. Smart clothes design offers new material technology applications to make work apparel safer and more specifically suited to the work and environment in question. Smart clothes also make it possible for the wearer’s vital functions to be monitored, using, for example, an electromyograph (EMG).



The goal of the Academy-funded Models for Intelligent Garment Design (MeMoGa) research project is to develop methods and models for the research and design of smart clothes as well as to study matters related to their usability and social acceptability. The MeMoGa project approaches new, multidisciplinary research fields through the research of clothing design, fibre material technologies and physiology.

The material applications used in new types of work apparel include impact-protective materials, which can be divided into two categories: phase change materials (PCMs) and auxetic materials. "One example of phase change materials might be d3o, which is made of ”smart molecules”. Phase change materials move normally with the body, but when impacted, they protect the wearer by instantly hardening and then returning to their normal state once the impact load is released," explains researcher Mailis Mäkinen. Auxetic materials, on the other hand, are energy-absorbing materials, whose cross-section expands when stretched. "Auxetic materials include metals, ceramic or polymer materials or composites. These materials withstand pressure better than standard materials," says Mäkinen.


Many challenges facing the adoption of new materials

There are many challenges facing the use of new materials. The use of innovative new materials and integration of electronic and other types of components into garments requires, for example, the development of new types of testing methods and standards.

Furthermore, the development of materials, such as their mechanical properties, temporal durability or functionality in various conditions, may take a long time.

Garment-integrated electronics or other types of components in particular present problems in the washing or maintenance of the garment. In many cases the high cost of new materials discourages their adoption.

User needs and desires play a key role in the development of smart clothes

The needs and desires of work apparel users are surveyed before beginning the design of smart clothes, in order to ensure that the design will meet the user’s needs as effectively as possible. Before the design phase, it is important to identify the user as someone who is generally open to the use of technology and understand in what way a new technology, such as electronic components, change the user’s perceptions of the garment. This helps to predict how the technology should appear in the garment, i.e. how invisible or visible it can be.

A crucial part of ensuring the user-orientation of smart clothes is a usability assessment. A virtual prototype was developed for this purpose in order to allow end users evaluate a still non-existent smart garment before actually building the actual, physical prototype. "A virtual prototype involves such material as 3D models and 3D animations, which are used to present a realistic iteration of the prototype to the user instead of just showing them conceptual drawings. Animation makes it possible to show how the prototype will be used in a working environment, which demonstrates the smart garment’s possible uses in a heavy industry environment," explains researcher Riikka Matala. The goal of assessment is to make the user a part of the design process and possibly reduce the need for producing expensive (at this stage of development) and time-consuming physical prototypes.

Intelligent garments are being studied as part of the Academy’s PROACT Research Programme

The University of Lapland Department of Textile and Clothing Design, Tampere University of Technology Institute of Fibre Material Science, and University of Kuopio Department of Physiology are participants in the MeMoGa research project. The project is part of the Academy of Finland’s Proactive Computing (PROACT) Research Programme.

Terhi Loukiainen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.aka.fi

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>