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 An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

nachricht Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water
20.01.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>