ShadowSense gives robots a sense of “touch”

February 22, 2021

Touch-sensitive electronic skin for robots is a project under development by a number of groups. Cornell University reports that scientists there are pursuing a simpler approach, however, using shadow-imaging cameras to let robots know when they’re being touched. Known as ShadowSense, the experimental system incorporates a USB-powered laptop-connected camera, located beneath a non-electronic translucent “skin” on a soft-bodied …

Researchers create thread that senses and tracks movement

February 8, 2021

Engineers at Tufts University in Massachusetts have created and demonstrated flexible thread-based sensors that can measure movement of the neck, providing data on the direction, angle of rotation and degree of displacement of the head.  The discovery raises the potential for thin, inconspicuous tatoo-like patches that could, according to the Tufts team, measure athletic performance, …

Absorbent film could lead to sweat-powered wearables

January 25, 2021

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a new film that can absorb sweat and potentially use the moisture to power wearable electronics. For sweat to cool us down properly, it needs to evaporate, which carries the heat away. The new film is designed to speed that process up, with the research …

MIT researchers send sensing fabrics to the ISS for testing

December 21, 2020

A team of MIT researchers has sent samples of high-tech fabrics, some with embedded sensors or electronics, to the International Space Station (ISS). According to information released by MIT News, the samples will be exposed to the space environment for a year to determine a baseline for how well these materials survive the harsh environment of …

Fruit fly eye study could impact future textiles

October 26, 2020

Russian and Swiss scientists have learned how to replicate a nanocoating with antimicrobial, anti-reflective and self-cleaning properties, based on the structures covering the corneas of fruit fly eyes, that could find applications in the textile industry. Researchers from Far Eastern Federal University teamed with colleagues from the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne and Zurich’s Swiss …

Solight Design launches the SEEUS95 self-adhering mask

September 14, 2020

Known for its solar-powered and origami-inspired lighting, Solight Design, based in New York, N.Y., has ventured into the mask design arena with the SEEUS95 clear, self-adhering, earloop-free mask, which the company says can provide better protection than masks made with nonwoven polypropylene, woven or knit fabrics.  The mask features a natural filter made of bamboo, silk, …

Designer works with researchers to create “biogarmentry”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. consumers send about 70 percent of the clothes and footwear produced each year to landfill. Project Biogarmentry, by designer Roya Aghighi, has been launched to address the drastic increase in the environmental impact of textile waste and air pollution. Using the fields of synthetic biology and design, its …

Transforming Touch project is all about serious play

September 8, 2020

London-based smart textile designer Michelle Rinow has unveiled her Transforming Touch Series, which was developed based on research about the benefits of sensory play for adults. “Many people think play is just for children, but I believe play is necessary through all stages of life and should be accessible to people no matter their physical abilities, age …

“Smart” face mask translates and transcribes language

July 27, 2020

With mask-wearing now a part of everyday life worldwide, designers and innovators have tried to provide improved face coverings that address a variety of concerns. Some have been made transparent; others are made with biodegradable materials to address disposal problems. But among the innovations, there hasn’t been a mask that connects to the Internet … until …

Twisting elastomers show promise in soft robotics

June 22, 2020

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University have demonstrated a new method for ‘programming’ liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs) that enables them to twist and bend in the presence of light. This made it possible to replicate the complex twisting actions of the human muscle system in the materials, a breakthrough particularly useful for applications in soft robotics …