Following up on the release of the Smart Textile Saloon exhibition list released last week, I am collecting more information (where available) about the projects on stage.
The wearable CO2 sensor, developed by Tanja Radu, Cormac Fay, King Tong Lau and Dermot Diamond at CLARITY (Centre for Sensor Web Technologies at Dublin City University) is a highly interesting topic .
Wearable gas sensors are not yet very common but interesting not only for emergency disaster clothing but also in other areas where detection and indication of hazardous gases like CO and CO2 are off concern.
The development of the Wearable CO2 sensor is part of the European project Proetex which aims to develop textile and fiber-based wearable sensor systems to improve the safety and efficiency of emergency personnel by monitoring the health status of the operator and the surrounding environment for potential risk sources.
The CO2 sensor is placed in a specially designed pocket located on the firefighter’s boot and a CO sensor in the firefighter’s garment. Both integrations are designed to protect the sensors but not to obstruct the firefighter’s activities.
Via a low power, wireless Zigbee link the sensor data can be send to the command station which monitors the rescue operation.
The project started in 2006 with an end date in early 2010 so I expect the models on exhibit at the Smart Textile Saloon will be the most advanced, wearable gas sensor designs.
Sensor integration into clothing, be it for professional, medical or sports clothing have the advantage of being unobtrusive, ‘always around’ (the body) to monitor our physical parameters and the immediate environment around our body for hazardous situations.
We could use stand alone sensor units and place them in our pockets or stick to our skin, but this requires quite some ‘dressing up’ time, the possibility of forgetting and/or losing such small devices during the action.