Patients that are being treated stationarily in hospitals, for example after surgery, make use of a hospital’s resources. In the future, novel technologies for smart textiles could be used to meet the needs of all patients while also making more efficient hospital processes possible by saving resources in the form of both goods and personnel. Electronics and sensors shall be integrated seamlessly into smart textiles to enable medical patient data collection and transfer to the responsible medical personnel. With smart patient monitoring systems of this kind, medical institutions can save a lot of time and costs and use the time and resources gained to the benefit of their patients and personnel.
Limits and opportunities of smart textiles
The project TEX-Hype*(textile integrated hybrid printed electronics) that the Electronic Sensors research unit, led by Rudolf Heer, is working on, aims to improve the integration of electronics and sensors into smart textiles. At the moment, producing smart textile products includes cost- and work-intensive processes that are not scalable and therefore not suitable for mass production.
TEX-Hype aims to overcome these obstacles by using hybrid printed electronics. This way, conventional silicon-based electronic components, flexible electronic elements and printed systems shall be integrated into smart textiles in a way that their flexible and elastic characteristics survive. To achieve this goal, methods that are already compatible with the textile industry, such as multi-layer inkjet printing or embroidery, can be used.
This way, nothing stands in the way of more efficient patient care and a more sustainable health care system.
*This project is financed within the framework of the 36th announcement of “production of the future” (PdZ) by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG, project number 883859).