Within the European Research Call "Flexible and Wearable Electronics" (H2020ICT-02 RIA) the goal of this project is to develop novel, unprecedented garments for haptic stimulation comprising flexible and wearable textile actuators and sensors, including control electronics, as a new type of textile-based large-area electronics. These wearables are based on a new kind of textile muscles in which yarns are coated with electromechanical active polymers and contract when a low voltage is applied.
Textile muscles offer a completely novel and very different quality of haptic sensation, accessing also receptors of the tactile sensory system that do not react to vibration, but to soft pressure or stroke. Furthermore, being textile materials, they offer a new way of designing and fabricating wearable haptics and can be seamlessly integrated into fabrics and garments. For this novel form of textile muscles, we foresee a huge range of possible applications in haptics: for ergonomics, movement coaching in sports, or wellness, for enhancement of virtual or augmented reality applications in gaming or for training purposes, for inclusion of visually handicapped people by providing them information about their environment, for stress reduction or social communication, adaptive furniture, automotive industry and many more.
Especially the COVID-19 Pandemic has shown the huge potential for certain applications in caring e.g. for elderly people. Together with an expert online support of caregivers, social communication could be simulated by giving a caring touch sensation of the smart textile to the forearm of elderly people.
The goal of the WEAFING project is to develop novel, unprecedented garments for haptic stimulation comprising flexible and wearable textile actuators and sensors, including control electronics, as a new type of textile-based large-area electronics. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Find out more about the WEAFING partner team here.