The technology could be used for compression bandages on chronic leg ulcers

Intelligent textile could help control crippling pain

A new knittable, wearable sensor could lead to the creation of bandages that measure their own tightness.

The sensor, which is used for measuring compressive and tensile forces as well as temperatures, will be demonstrated for the first time in the UK at Wearable Technology Conference and Expo.

Simon McMaster the New Zealand-born inventor and founding scientist for Footfalls and Heartbeats Ltd, the company behind the invention, says an early application for the technology is compression bandages for use on chronic leg ulcers.

“We’re in the early stages of developing a design for a bandage that can potentially measure its own tightness and convey information to medical staff by a colour change, noise or another kind of alert,” said McMaster, who claims that it can be knitted on any machine.

The technology combines mathematically determined textile structures using electrically conductive yarn to form a repeatable and sensitive sensor network.

It uses the interactions of fibres within the yarn itself, to control the electrical resistance characteristics of the sensor structure.

These signals can be filtered, amplified and analysed in real-time to produce multiple data sets relating to physiological output, limb movement, proprioception and either tensile or compressive force detection within or upon organic or man-made structures.

The company has licensed the technology to an undisclosed partner, which McMaster says will deliver products using the technology by the end of the year.

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