Smart and sensitive wearables for future emergencies
The European Integrated Project ProeTEX (Protection e-Textiles: MicroNanoStructured fibre systems for Emergency-Disaster Wear) just started its activities. The project aims to develop an integrated set of functionalized garments for emergency disaster personnel, capable of monitoring physiological and environmental parameters, improving their safety, coordination and efficiency.
The project, launched today, February 3, in Luzern (CH), with a funding of 12 million euros, involves 23 European partners who will be collaborating for the next four years. The partner consortium is a powerful set of Universities, Research Institutions, industrial companies involved in textiles and in healthcare systems, as well as 3 end users capable of testing and validating the applications. The project is lead by the Italian National Research Center S3 - nanoStructures and bioSystems at Surfaces, of INFM-CNR.
An inwoven intelligence
Wearable systems developed by ProeTEX, will monitor the health of the user through vital signs, biochemical parameters, activity and posture, and generate and store its own power. Outer layers of the wearables will measure potential environmental insults (temperature, CO, other toxic gases), offer improved visibility, and continuously communicate data to a central control of rescue operation.
“The core application area is of significant societal importance in itself” - says the project coordinator Annalisa Bonfiglio and Associate Professor at the University of Cagliary (Italy) – “but will also drive a wide range of key technology developments, like specifically textile-based micro-nano technologies”.
Prof. Bonfiglio, currently leading research in organic semiconductors electronics at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Cagliari, has recently developed flexible electronic devices on plastic thin films. “Starting from tecnologies that allow us to build flexible sensor devices on different substrates such as textiles or paper” – she says- “we are now aiming to develop directly functionalized fibres, systems that can be assembled directly as a textile material”. “In this way the textile itself becomes an active component, and can be tailored not only according to the physical shape but also to the electronic function”.
These and similar technologies developed by other project parnters, will allow textile systems to integrate sensors, connections, transmission systems, power management for the emergency disaster personnel smart garment. And they will soon address a wider range of other markets from extreme sports, through healthcare to building workers.
Maddalena Scandola | alfa
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