Smart clothing

A personal interface to help us
with life’s greatest challenges

At Holst Centre, we continue to explore the potential of this promising technology, and we are keen to get in contact with potential end-users to discuss requirements and specifications. Our final goal is to prove feasibility for specific applications and to support the industry in adopting this new technology. At Holst Centre a proto-tool is available, which is compatible with a wide range of materials and supports all research activities.

As an interface between our bodies and the world around us, clothing is the perfect medium to make solutions personal and part of normal life. It can help people to become more resilient, to feel supported and protected during work, sports and leisure activities.

From a shirt with haptic breathing guidance that helps regulate stress, to a pregnancy belt for monitoring foetal health at home. Our hybrid printed electronics pave the way for a new generation of electronic applications that contribute to solutions for a whole range of societal issues. Smart clothing measures biometric data almost instinctively and is barely noticeable; the wearer simply feels comfortable and secure. It is worn so close to the body that it delivers data of exceptional accuracy. Printed electronics are thin, stretchable, flexible and mouldable, which is ideal for the design and manufacturing of smart clothing. Fashion design is the key to incorporate tech in comfortable garments that look ‘smart’, as well.

Mix and match

Smart clothing is more than the functionality and technology it brings. It also delivers the full experience of clothing: comfort, safety and intimacy. As an answer to the current societal needs, Holst Centre has developed a platform of thin, stretchable and washable printed electronic technologies for smart clothing and textile applications. Our platform allows a wide range of actuators and sensors – including ECG and bioimpedance electrodes, LEDs, solar cells and temperature, oxygen saturation, strain and motion sensors – to be combined and manufactured together. From a garment-fabrication point of view, the printed electronics can be thought of as a lining that is integrated into the garment using common heat-bonding processes. This offers complete design freedom and facilitates recycling through delamination. The smart clothing items have been developed and validated on electrical and mechanical performance, washability and wearability, both in partner applications and in-house platforms. These items include:

  • Flight Sensing Shirt (AEOLUS) that monitors fighter pilots' vital signs and activity during flight missions

  • Motion-tracking sportswear (Niraxx) to improve training

  • Light-therapy headband for regulating stress and anxiety

  • Pregnancy belt for monitoring foetal health at home

  • Responsive garments with haptic breathing guidance to prevent stress and burnouts (MYSA) and remote communication by touch-interactive garments (Body Wonders);