Among their developments is a smart shirt. "We can detect dehydration – when you drink too little during the day," explains Oliver Amft, Professor of Sensor Technology from the University of Passau in Germany and adds that the shirt "can also provide overweight people with recommendations based on actual data.”
Diabetes patients might also benefit. The electronics connected to the smart shirt could provide advice about healthier nutritional habits or remind patients to take their medicine when it detects eating.
The textile sensors used in the SimpleSkin project consist of polymer fibres interwoven with silver or copper-based conductors.
“The material is fully flexible and also air-permeable" assures Prof Jingyuan Cheng, Simpleskin Project Coordinator. "If you sweat, the air can get through. It is really comfortable. And you can wash it. We have done tests in a washing machine for around 40 times — and it still works!”
The team also explored glasses that could help monitor how much a person eats by analysing the skull vibrations. The glasses may not yet be able to distinguish between low calorie yoghurt and high calorie mousse au chocolat, but the characteristic vibrations of biting into an apple are easily detected.
The SimpleSkin project ran for 3 years from July 2013. Almost 2 Mio Euro out of a total budget of 2.7 Mio Euro were contributed by the EU under the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) programme.
A report on SimpleSkin was produced for Futuris, the science programme of the pan-European television channel Euronews. On TV it was shown more than a dozen times until 12 February 2017. It can still be watched online in several languages:
Takeaway (0:49) short version of the video. English subtitles. No narration