Stressed out? Time to take a break? It will not be long before our clothing gives us the answer. In the EU’s CONTEXT project, companies and research institutes are developing a comfortable vest that will read muscle tension and deduce stress levels at any given time.
At the core of the vest is “wearable electronics”. This consists of sensors woven into the fabric that register the electrical excitation of the muscle fibers, and thin conducting metallic fibers that pass the signals to an electronic analysis system. People’s muscle tension changes with their stress level – the greater the stress, the more likely the muscles are to produce a synchronous twitching effect.
Though this is barely perceptible, the electrodes register the change. The idea of the sensor vest originated with biomedical scientists at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, who needed an inconspicuous measuring tool for stress studies. Until then, they had affixed electrodes directly to their test subjects’ chests. But this itself induced stress, with the result that the tests delivered very little useful information.
The new vest is designed to ensure a more relaxed test environment. The project members are exploring further potential applications such as a special vest for computer games. By selectively tensing the torso muscles, players could use the vest to control figures on the monitor and for instance burst their heroes’ chains and fetters. The vest could also contribute to safety at the workplace – perhaps ensuring that workers do not lift loads that are too heavy for them. And sports coaches could tell from the electronic vest whether athletes have reached their performance limits or still possess energy reserves.
”The most important requirement for everyday use is a robust electronic system,” says Torsten Linz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin, the partner responsible for the “packaging”. The entire electronic system has to be resistant to water and perspiration. The electric conductors must not fray even after repeated laundry cycles, and the sensors must be no larger than buttons to ensure that the garment is comfortable.
The IZM researchers have meanwhile developed stable metallic fibers, watertight connections and durable sensor buttons. Their task over the next few months will be to integrate the analysis electronics. The project partners have already demonstrated during field hockey training that the vest really works; it enabled players to choose the ideal moment for striking the ball and to hit it much further than usual.
Press Office | alfa
Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
A burst of ”synchronous” light
08.11.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding