Interactive Textile Structures : Creating Multifunctional Textiles based on Smart Materials

Abstract: Textiles of today are materials with applications in almost all our activities. We wear clothes all the time and we are surrounded with textiles in almost all our environments. The integration of multifunctional values in such a common material has become a special area of interest in recent years. Smart Textile represents the next generation of textiles anticipated for use in several fashion, furnishing and technical textile applications. The term smart is used to refer to materials that sense and respond in a pre-defined manner to environmental stimuli. The degree of smartness varies and it is possible to enhance the intelligence further by combining these materials with a controlling unit, for example a microprocessor. As an interdisciplinary area Smart Textile includes design spaces from several areas; the textile design space, the information technology design space and the design space of material science. This thesis addresses how Smart Textiles affect the textile design space; how the introduction of smart materials and information technology affects the creation of future textile products. The aim is to explore the convergence between textiles, smart materials and information technology and to contribute to providing a basis for future research in this area. The research method is based on a series of interlinked experiments designed through the research questions and the research objects. The experiments are separated into two different sections: interactive textile structures and health monitoring. The result is a series of basic methods for how interactive textile structures are created and a general system for health monitoring. Furthermore the result consists of a new design space, advanced textile design. In advanced textile design the focus is set on the relation between the different natures of a textile object: its physical structure and its structure in the context of design and use.