Smart textile innovations
This presentation will give an overview of the new paradigm of electrodes. Furthermore, it presents advantages of the ‘new’ electrodes as well as it gives an introduction of the range of applications and products suitable. Due to its great wearing comfort in comparison to standard electrodes, textile electrodes play more and more an important role within a variety of medical applications such as sensors and/or actuators. Advantages of textile electrodes are its ductility, flexibility, great conductivity and therefore its functionality for muscle and nerve stimulation as well as surveillance of body signals such as EMG and ECG. A vital part of textile electrodes are conductive yarns or fabrics integrated into the clothing, directly and hence ensure mobility. The conductivity of the electrode is pursued through silver incorporated into yarns or fabrics. Silver as a metal has great textile properties, as it is a very ductile, high electrical and thermal conductive as well as it is antimicrobial. The textile electrode itself implements into a garment through a weaving, knitting or embroidery process. Through its direct implementation into the clothing, the textile electrode guarantees an ideal body fit as well as it enhances patient compliance because it prevents intolerances of the patients resulting from the glue of conventional electrodes. A padded silverized spacer fabric, for example, ensures a great contact to the body through consistent pressure and increases the overall electrical contact. Besides the good body fit, there are also other advantages of textile electrodes in comparison to standard electrodes. Textile electrodes are for instance washable, sterilizable and therefore reusable. In addition to that, textile electrodes can be integrated into different types of base materials. Applications of textile sensors are for example EMG, ECG, EEG as well as the measurement of skin resistance. Applications of textile actuators are for instance TENS, FES, and EMS.