Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 14

[ BRIEFS ] swatches
'Robotic' textile can
help control breathing
R
esearchers from Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) and Sweden have developed a
new " robotic " textile that can be woven into clothing.
Called OmniFiber, the textile can sense and respond to
the movement of its wearer, giving immediate tactile
feedback via pressure, lateral stretch or vibration. With
the help of compressed air, the fibers can bend, stretch,
curl and pulse on demand. That allows them to provide
tactile feedback in real time, making them akin to an
artificial muscle.
Researchers believe the fabric could be used to make
garments that singers and athletes can use to improve
breath control. Such fabrics could also help users who
are recovering from surgery or a disease that affects
breathing capability and patterns. OmniFiber consists
of multiple layers with a fluid channel in the center.
The system can control the geometry of the fiber by
pressurizing and releasing a fluid inside the channel.
The fluid can be air or water, and when activated, the
fibers act as an artificial muscle.
OmniFiber doesn't need heat to change its shape,
which makes it more practical since overheating the skin
is not an issue. Also woven into the fiber are stretchable
sensors that can detect and measure how much the
fibers are stretched. The fibers are thin enough and
flexible enough to be sewn, woven or knitted using
standard, commercially available machines.
MIT researchers say OmniFiber has an architecture
highlighted by multiple important features, including a
very narrow size and inexpensive materials used in the
construction. The material is able to be structured into
a variety of fabric forms and is compatible with human
skin with an external material similar to polyester.
The material has been designed to provide a fast
response time and enough strength and flexibility to
provide rapid feedback. In its testing, the team designed
an undergarment that singers can wear to monitor
and record how the respiratory muscles move during
a performance. The garment can provide feedback in
later performances, encouraging posture and breathing
patterns ideal for performance.
14 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / December 2021
OmniFiber, developed by researchers at MIT and in Sweden, contains
a fluid channel (air or water) in the center that allows the fiber to act
similar to an artificial muscle when activated.
The key features of the new fiber architecture include its extremely narrow
size and use of inexpensive materials, which make it relatively easy to
structure the fibers into a variety of fabric forms.
As an initial test application
of the material, the
team made a type of
undergarment that singers
can wear to monitor and
play back the movement
of respiratory muscles, to
later provide kinesthetic
feedback through the same
garment to encourage
optimal posture and
breathing patterns for the
desired vocal performance.
Photos: Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.

Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021

Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 4
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 5
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 6
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 7
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 8
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Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 11
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 12
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 13
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 14
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Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 18
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