A multi-disciplinary team is driving environmental and societal change by developing novel affordable and simple to manufacture QuickFitting textile multi-point pressure sensing strips for real-time monitoring in the medical and healthcare sector for potential use in areas such as prosthetic fit and bandage compression therapy for leg ulcers. The thin, flexible, light weight, conformable textile strips are printed and can also be produced in different shapes and sizes for other application areas including wearables, aerodynamic assessment, helmet monitoring, bed sensing and robotics.
The strips have been designed to sense multiple points of pressure, are trimmable to fit different requirements and can be placed onto different types of textiles and non-wovens to suit a particular application. Uniquely, they can be read either resistively or capacitively and demonstration read-out electronics have been produced by Teesside University's Healthcare Innovation Centre whilst software and 3D visualization have been developed by HeadChannel who specialise in bespoke software and integrate hardware and software for projects. South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has provided clinical input and the project received funding from Innovate UK.
The strips utilise more environmentally friendly magnetite based QTSS™ Quantum Materials from Quantum Technology Supersensors that harness sub-atomic 'quantum conduction' mechanisms for 'energy efficiency' during use and exhibit an instantaneous response due to low latency. QTSS™ quantum materials sense across the whole range of electrical conductivity, changing all the way from an 'insulator' to a pure 'metallic-like conductor' as pressure is applied and this change is proportional. Alternative sensor technologies contain elements and compounds that are not as environmentally friendly or are expensive and their production processes are complex creating large carbon footprints; QTSS™ materials do not suffer these problems. Magnetite is also easy to identify for recovery and recycling in an LAE (Large Area Electronics) circular economy. QTSS™ materials have been recognised by multiple awards including the IDTechEx Toxicant Replacement Hero Award at the Printed Electronics Show Berlin 2018 and a Rushlight Award UK 2019 for their beneficial impact on the environment.
Electronic devices are becoming increasingly pervasive in our everyday lives in an ever increasingly connected world. Utilising smarter, multi-functional and more environmentally friendly QTSS™ quantum materials will enable significant generational advances for simplified, mass producible and economically viable sensing solutions to resolve society's current needs whilst simultaneously addressing climate change and looking after the environment for future generations.