Textile-embedded gender sensitive human-machine interfaces for the detection of different parameters such as pressure, temperature or moisture
Textiles equipped with sensor functions have increasing technological and industrial importance (e.g., in the medical and care sectors, as well as for monitoring vital functions in people participating in competitive and extreme sports) and, thus, represent a growing research field. The development of these textiles doesn’t only present, a technical challenge, but also require special consideration for the potentially different requirements of sensor textiles for men and women, elderly and young people. These differences with respect to gender or age were largely ignored in the past by technology developers, but are crucial for the applicability and acceptance of products including newly developed technologies. Within this project, the different approaches are connected and brought into the foreground.
Therefore the goal is, pursued by taking two issues into account:
- A selection of sensor technologies available at JOANNEUM RESEARCH will be combined with textile substrates as part of the planned project. These technologies include pyro-and piezoelectric sensors which are based on ferroelectric polymers (PVDF) for detection of pressure and temperature changes and indicator dyes, which show a change in their color or fluorescence pattern reacting with different chemical substances or biological compounds, respectively.
- In addition, humidity sensors based on electrospun nanofibers applied onto textiles will also be studied.
Studies on differences in human-machine interactions regarding to gender or age will be put into execution within this project in order to coordinate the design of possible products to the different requirements.
The skin surface acts as the interface between human and textile. Due to this fact it has to be taken into account that the skin of men and women differs not only in its structure and composition, but also in its ability regarding sensoric perception. Accordingly a distinction is made between active skin functions (e.g., temperature regulation, sweat secretion) and receptor-based skin functions and perceptions (e.g., tactile and thermal sensing, thermal comfort). In order to properly interpret data generated by the textile sensors the differences in skin functions have to be adequately considered and modelled in a gender specific manner.