E-Textiles Network Webinar – Three-Dimensional Knitted Sensors to Detect Body Movements

Presented by Giorgia Petri, Berlin University of the Arts

Textile sensors are becoming increasingly popular in the field of interactivity, especially when considering the human body and the collection of data from its movements. Despite the great freedom of design and the possibility to experiment with shapes and structures, most of the wearable textile sensors used to detect body movements are made using fine gauged single jersey knits and designed to be used in contact with the body. This may limit the aesthetics of a design, but is often preferred because it may get better behaviour from the sensor. Furthermore, looking at the artistic and performative field, the compromise between comfort and aesthetics is increasingly detrimental to the flexibility and attractiveness of the device. In addition, the requirement of a tight fit is not always able to function well for different body types.

In this context, we ask whether body movement can be measured instead with stretch sensors, and whether sensors can be designed to experiment with more voluminous shapes without compromising sensing performance. In particular, this research aims to investigate a fit that goes beyond standardised body concepts in terms of shape and size by exploring the design of a sculptural dress using three-dimensional shapes and folds as a sensing element. A machine learning system based on the classification method is used to manage the data from the sensors and to recognise body positions. The field of interest of this research is the interaction between body and fabric in the field of musical performance.

This webinar took place on Wednesday 7th December 13.30pm (GMT).