Towards Large-area On-body Force Sensing Using Soft, Flexible Materials: Challenges of Textile-Based Array Sensing



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2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems


On-body force-sensing presents important opportunities for understanding of how the human body moves and interfaces with wearable systems such as space suits. Measuring these body-space suit interactions has been a continuous challenge due to the enclosed nature of the suit as well as limitations of common sensor technology. Textile-based wearable sensors offer the possibility of comfortable, unobtrusive monitoring inside the suit. Further, most typical force sensors only provide information for a single point, while for wearable applications, it is useful to be able to measure multiple points over a larger area to obtain a distribution of force measurements. Here, we investigate the challenges of textile-based sensing arrays through the assessment of two force-sensing array architectures: (1) isolated-cell, and (2) connected-cell. Controlled calibration and force-sensing tests have illuminated challenges stemming from crosstalk and mechanical deformation of the sensing array that influence sensor response repeatability and accuracy. We present an assessment of these challenges including implementation of mitigation approaches, and discuss their implications for on-body textile-based sensing.


Crystal Compton, University of Minnesota, US
Alireza Golgouneh, University of Minnesota, US
Brad Holschuh, University of Minnesota, US
Lucy Dunne, University of Minnesota, US
ICES400: Extravehicular Activity: Space Suits
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


Force sensing array, Sensors, E-textiles, On-body sensing, Wearable technology