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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-29

The characterization of a pressure sensor constructed from a knitted spacer structure

1 Advanced Textiles Research Group, School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom
2 Department of Physics and Mathematics, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Theodore Hughes-Riley
Advanced Textiles Research Group, School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/digm.digm_17_18

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Background and Objectives: This study investigates a novel type of textile pressure sensor fabricated in a single production step. The work characterizes two designs of electronic textile pressure sensor creating new knowledge into the operation of these types of textile sensors. Interest in electronic flexible film and electronic textile pressure sensing has grown in recent years given their potential in medical applications, principally in developing monitoring solutions for wheelchair users and hospital patients to help prevent the formation of pressure ulcers. Materials and Methods: Two designs of textile pressure sensor were produced using computerized flat-bed knitting. One design was produced in a single step, where the conductive tracks were incorporated into the top and bottom surfaces of a knitted spacer structure (knitted spacer pressure sensor). The other sensor was comprised of separate knitted layers. The response of the sensors was tested by changing the applied pressure in two ways: By altering the applied force or changing the area of the applied force. Sensor hysteresis and how the sensor thickness affected its response were also examined. Results: The two sensor designs behaved differently under the tested conditions. The knitted spacer pressure sensor was pressure sensitive up to 25 kPa and showed no hysteretic effects over the pressure range of interest. Conclusions: This study presents a fully textile pressure sensor that was produced with a single production step and demonstrates its functionality over the pressure range of interest for monitoring wheelchair users.

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