Smart clothing will revolutionise body monitoring

New smart clothing breakthrough - Newsreel
New smart clothing is said to be more accurate than watches and phones in monitoring body movement. | Photo: Creative Credit (iStock)

A new generation of smart clothing could revolutionise the way people exercise and recover from injury.

Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Bath have developed digital garments with low voltage “conductive threads” built into the seams.

They say the e-textile designs open the way for clothing manufacturers to make garments that accurately track body movements.

The seam wiring would give body data that is far more accurate than currently provided by phones and smart watches.

The research is outlined in a paper, presented at the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference in Copenhagen last week.

Professor Mike Fraser of the University of Bristol’s School of Computer Science said the technology would allow motion sensors to be added to clothing without altering existing manufacturing processes.

“We’re excited by the opportunity for clothing manufacturers to implement our designs in sleeves and other garment seams,” he said.

“We’ve shown that common overlocked seams in standard garment constructions can do a good job of sensing movement. The design avoids the need for a separate power source by pairing the seam with a charging coil, drawing the energy wirelessly from a mobile phone placed in the pocket.

“We have also shown that smartphone apps using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques can use this movement data to match body movement to specific postures or gestures such as physiotherapeutic exercises.”

The full report is on the University of Bristol website.