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Co-design of the smart sensors and integration into medical devices includes the appropriate integration of the different sensors containing microcontrollers, communication modules and adequate software applications for data processing in order to measure biomedical parameters (respiration rhythm, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen level, glycemia), other biomarkers that can be used for diagnosing or treat (e.g., sweat analysis using wearable microfluidic devices) different diseases, to assist patients in rehabilitation. The integration of wearable smart sensors into textile products is based on sensors' flexibility and miniaturization. Without flexibility or miniaturization, these sensors can be damaged by mechanical actions that may occur in textiles, considering that the textile is not a continuous surface but discrete. 

The projection of the advanced materials and smart textiles as dynamizers for PPE is clear, long, and worthy to keep in. Most of the applications are currently under pilot testing, need to be improved or are just being prototyped. But some of the already applied ones are just showing impressive performances and a high potential. 
Still, some risks and legislations need to be overcome and standards for these new products should be set.

The ongoing process of innovation in the smart textiles sector could clash with the purposes of policies concerning environment and waste. It can be expected, considering contemporary examples of e-textiles, that existing systems for take-back and recycling of e-waste or old textiles are not designed to process raw materials of this kind.
The so-called smart and interactive textile industry has grown significantly during the past thirty years. With the introduction of novel fibers, new fabrics, and cutting-edge processing techniques, demand for smart textile materials and their applications is expected to increase. Additionally, washable, flexible, light-weight, and strong e-textiles are in high demand. These characteristics are influenced by the initial material's characteristics, the post-treatment, and the integration methods. 
An e-textile can be created by using various surface techniques to apply a
conductive component to the surface of a textile substrate or by creating a textile substrate from metals and naturally conductive polymers and using them to create fibers, yarns, and textiles. Additionally, it is possible to include conductive filament fibers or yarns onto traditional textile substrates both during and after the creation of the textile fabric by embroidering. The complete smart textile component can be printed in 3D, layer by layer, and the idea of 4D could be crucial in elevating the prestige of smart textiles to a new level.

The most common toxic chemicals encountered on smart textiles and wearables, as well as on traditional fabric substrates are being presented along with health hazards and diseases reported for humans at various phases of the products lifecycle. The environmental impacts and the ecotoxicity related to end-of-life are briefly discussed. The chapter gives a general  overview of the toxicity assessment methodologies and the existent regulations and policies, pointing out the weak aspects regarding the sustainability of smart textile products that have to be addressed in the near future.

By integrating these principles into the design, production, use, and disposal of smart textiles, the 3R concept promotes resource conservation, waste reduction, and environmental sustainability. It helps to maximize the value derived from these materials and minimize their impact on the environment.

Smart textiles often incorporate electronic components that require energy to operate. By conserving resources and implementing energy‐efficient designs, we can reduce energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.

Conserving resources promotes sustainable innovation in the field of smart textiles. It encourages the development of eco‐friendly materials, efficient manufacturing processes and recycling technologies. By focusing on resource conservation, the industry can drive advancements that align with environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Emphasizing resource conservation in smart textiles aligns with the principles of a circular economy. By reducing, reusing, and recycling materials, we can create a closed‐loop system where resources are used efficiently, waste is minimized, and valuable materials are continually circulated back into the production cycle.

Overall, conserving resources in smart textiles is essential for minimizing environmental impact, reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and driving economic and technological advancements in a responsible and efficient manner.

Washing process can lead to damages  in e-textiles,   depending on the type and their composition. 
The contacts between different materials and electronic components as well as transition areas within the same materials weak points are .
The damages during washing can occur throughout the structure,  in conductive yarn or textiles fabrics. 
The damage types in e-textile can be observed only use  research into single aspects of e-textile washability.

Washability is one of the key questions for e-textiles. Equally to what they are able to offer when the conductivity and devices are added in the product.
A simple wash can destroy the whole technology the product has been endorsed, so, the way the textile is confectioned and the way it is washed will play a relevant role in the success of its cleaning (that means no lose of properties). 
For that, a common standardisation is key. General rules would facilitate the development of this kind of products, as they would be developed following certain standards from the beginning and all producers would play with the same rules. 
The main limitation found up until now, is about the policy makers. Even the investigations done until the moment guide a significant part of the e-textiles producers and it can be said around a 60% follow the existing standards, the institutions that have competences to regulate these standards have not set them.  

Smart fabrics research represents a new model for developing innovative and creative solutions for the integration of electronics into atypical surroundings and it will lead to new scientific breakthroughs. The ability to combine textile and electronics fabrication technologies to functionalize large-area surfaces at rapid rates is a fundamental motivation for smart textiles research. In this chapter, we overview the history of smart textile development and introducing the main trends in this field. Finally, we provide our outlook for the field and a prediction for the future.
By adopting these eco-centred design, smart and sensorial wearables and personal protective equipment may effectively reduce the environmental impact and mitigate the challenge of end-of-life disposal in the frame of a circular economy. In this chapter, main aspects of eco-design will be briefly explained. Specific key points focusing on eco-design for wearable sensors, batteries (and other energy storage devices) and actuators are addressed.

Most medical disorders are treated in phases that involve inhibition, acute care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support. Smart textiles have a responsibility in each of these stages of disease medication and prevention. Fabric sensors can be easily inserted into clothing and linked using conductive threads through embroidery, knitting or weaving processes. In the case of illness, smart clothing can help the medical society by offering a more complete image of the health of their patients and enabling remote monitoring to minimize clinical calls. A smart garment in rehabilitation can help the patient in taking an active role in his or her healing and prevent future relapses. Smart textiles may have therapeutic functions in the future, providing a variable and adjustable way of treatment. 

Advances in materials technology related to various mechanisms of energy harvesting and energy storage allow for the development of smart and sensorial textiles that embed energy-consuming devices. Attaching power sources to wearable by means of detachable equipment which are merely adhered to an otherwise conventional textile is rapidly giving away to the development of flexible, durable and effective energy harvesting and energy storage devices that are intrinsically embedded in or onto the textiles or even to yarns that can be knitted or woven.

Sensors intercept human lives in countless diverse ways. It is essential to develop better sensors with higher capabilities to successfully integrate them in more aspects of our society. Health and sport monitoring sensors, sensors to monitor environmental metrics, the weather, the sea, animals are only some of the important fields that depend on these developments.

Research on the materials that have the potential to lead to more complex and sophisticated sensors is ongoing and happening all over the world in research labs and universities.

The strain sensors are resistive, capacitive and piezoelectric. The strain sensors react by reducing or increasing the electrical resistance when the stimuli (strain, pressure, tensile forces, compressive forces, and torsion) are applied.

Sensory materials are characterized by their capacity for self-detection and active response. Due to their adaptive and sensory capabilities, these materials will be used more and more to obtain multifunctional clothing products.
For describing fabric handle it can use the following terms [ASTM Standard D123 (2003)]: 
  • the flexibility refers to the ease of bending; 
  • the density describes the mass/unit volume; 
  • resiliency is the ability to recover from deformation; 
  • the compressibility consists of ease of squeezing;
  • the extensibility to refers the ease of stretching; 
  • the surface is characterized by resistance to slipping; 
  • the surface contour – divergence of the surface from the fabric plane; 
  • the thermal character that is defined by the apparent temperature difference between fabric and skin. 
Fundamental knowledge of the relationships between the structure and properties of these materials is the key to success in obtaining new multifunctional products.

Advanced materials for pressure sensors

Textile pressure sensor development is challenging for researchers trying to generate scientific advances in biomedical monitoring (motion, pulse, gate and respiration) or robotics (artificial electronic skins for robots). The versatile embroidering of textile materials, technologies with polymers, advanced micro/nanostructured composites and digitalization (software and microelectronics) generate innovative wearable products. This chapter presents the main aspects concerning the materials used and technologies for resistive and capacitive sensors development.

Pressure sensors applications

Photonics applications have some advantages over electronics applications, mainly high sensitivity, low hysteresis and immunity to electromagnetic interference. Applications with optical fibres in smart textiles have been in place for quite some time, but they are restricted to the aesthetics part of the textile and do not provide any function. Use of photonics devices as light or chemical sensors in textiles, is based on micro‐ or nanocolloidal crystals that are deposited onto the textile substrate. These crystals are based on minerals like Silica e.g. mono‐dispersed polystyrene on polydimethylsiloxane substrate or a‐SiO2 micro crystals. A promising photonic material, with significant potential for wearable sensors is nano‐crystals of cellulose.


Smart fabrics research represents a new model for developing innovative and creative solutions for the integration of electronics into atypical surroundings and it will lead to new scientific breakthroughs. The ability to combine textile and electronics fabrication technologies to functionalize large-area surfaces at rapid rates is a fundamental motivation for smart textiles research. In this chapter, we overview the history of smart textile development and introducing the main trends in this field. Finally, we provide our outlook for the field and a prediction for the future. 

History of smart textile development

This historical overview of smart textiles will provide the reader with a better understanding of the evolution. Textile innovation 27,000 years ago could be disputed as humanity's first material invention [1]. The knitting frame, invented by William Lee in 1589 [2], the flying shuttle, invented by John Kay in 1733, and the spinning jenny, invented by James Hargreaves about 1765 [3], were all major inventions that transformed society and laid the groundwork for the first industrial revolution. The usage of illuminated headbands in the ballet La Farandole in 1883 was one of the first examples of smart textiles [4]. Electronic textiles are divided into three generations depending on the integration of electronics in textiles: putting electronics or circuitry on a garment (first generation), functional fabrics like sensors and switches (second generation), and functional yarns (third generation) [5]. Figure 1 depicts the evolution of E-textiles as a timeline.



[1] Adovasio JM, Soffer O, Klíma B. Upper palaeolithic fibre technology: Interlaced woven finds from Pavlov I, Czech Republic, c. 26,000 years ago. Antiquity 1996;70:526–34. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X0008368X.

[2] Lewis P. William Lee’s stocking frame: technical evolution and economic viability 1589-1750. Text Hist 1986;17:129–47. https://doi.org/10.1179/004049686793700890.

[3] Thackeray FW, Findling JE. Events that Changed Great Britain Since 1689. Annotated. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group; 2002.

[4] Guler SD, Gannon M, Sicchio K. A Brief History of Wearables. Crafting Wearables, Apress, Berkeley, CA; 2016, p. 3–10. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-1808-2_1.

[5] Hughes-Riley T, Dias T, Cork C. A historical review of the development of electronic textiles. Fibers 2018;6. https://doi.org/10.3390/fib6020034.

[6] Fishlock D. Doctor volts [Electrotherapy]. IEE Rev 2001;47:23–8. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1049/ir:20010304.

[7] Thorp EO. The invention of the first wearable computer. 2nd Int. Symp. Wearable Comput., 1998, p. 4–8. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISWC.1998.729523.

[8] Park S, Mackenzie K, Jayaraman S. The wearable motherboard: A framework for personalized mobile information processing (PMIP). Proc - Des Autom Conf 2002:170–4. https://doi.org/10.1145/513918.513961.

[9] Eichinger GF, Baumann K, Martin T, Jones M. Using a PCB layout tool to create embroidered circuits. Proc - Int Symp Wearable Comput ISWC 2007:105–6. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISWC.2007.4373789.

[10] Post ER, Orth M, Gershenfeld N, Russo PR. E-broidery: Design and fabrication of textile-based computing. IBM Syst J 2000;39:840–60.

[11] Meyer J, Lukowicz P, Tröster G. Textile pressure sensor for muscle activity and motion detection. Proc - Int Symp Wearable Comput ISWC 2006:69–74. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISWC.2006.286346.

[12] Eleksen Developing Fabric Keyboard for RIM BlackBerry 2006. https://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=6303.

[13] Jakubas A, Lada-Tondyra E, Nowak M. Textile sensors used in smart clothing to monitor the vital functions of young children. Prog Appl Electr Eng 2017:5–8. https://doi.org/10.1109/PAEE.2017.8008989.

[14] LIlypad Embroidery 2008. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bekathwia/2426457410/in/photostream/.

[15] Bonderover E, Wagner S. A woven inverter circuit for e-textile applications. IEEE Electron Device Lett 2004;25:295–7. https://doi.org/10.1109/LED.2004.826537.

[16] A History of Smart Fabric 2016. https://medium.com/@LoomiaCo/tale-2-a-history-of-e-textiles-and-conductive-fabrics-dbe9c4a0cb03.

[17] H2020 projects about “textiles” 2020. https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-topic/textiles/list/index.html.

By adopting these eco-centred design, smart and sensorial wearables and personal protective equipment may effectively reduce the environmental impact and mitigate the challenge of end-of-life disposal in the frame of a circular economy. In this chapter, main aspects of eco-design will be briefly explained. Specific key points focusing on eco-design for wearable sensors, batteries (and other energy storage devices) and actuators are addressed.

The basic principles of end-user centred design of smart sensors and actuators in PPE are outlined along with state-of-the-art workplace safety culture and risk management. The integration perspectives to ambient intelligence and the problems linked to complex and less developed production technologies are being highlighted.

Comfort is an essential characteristic of smart fabrics to maximize their practical effectiveness. The use of smart textiles has boosted due to the advancement of electronic functionality for a variety of applications. Smart textiles still pose comfort challenges during wear. Comfortable clothing is a basic requirement for textile-based items that come into intimate contact with the skin. This chapter provided a brief overview of subjective and objective analysis used to evaluate the sensorial comfort of smart textiles. The motivation for the requirement of sensory assessment for smart textiles has been sated.

Cluster paper in the boosting innovation field is not relevant but determinant. Clusters advice companies in their way to find out and exploit their capabilities, their strategic direction, and improve their weaknesses. Nowadays, these objectives are directly in line with the transformation of the sector, with the update of the textile industry from the XX century to the XXI century. Specifically, this improvement is about two key innovation pillars (among others) sustainability and digitalisation.
Clusters also approach these aims by actuating as an optimal ecosystem for companies’ interaction, facilitating symbiosis, exchange of experiences and confidence among them.
Some examples of these kinds of facilitating activities are the company collaboration or the simple participation -each one by their own- in several programs for the development of new products or the improvement of their companies and factories.
Also, some funding programs are targeted to several companies to find out a way to introduce to an existing product a smart application or directly to design a new product that comes from companies’ ideas.
In many cases, the result of these initiatives led by clusters end up producing new products and new applications that involve sensors, actuators and many other innovation forms to the market.
This paper attempts to explain the particular experience of the Catalan Cluster of Advance Textile Materials, AEI Tèxtils, and their companies’ innovation initiatives as an example to illustrate how a cluster boosts innovation and how it and its companies act as a facilitating ecosystem for co-design and co-develop innovation in the sector.

The analysis of drivers and obstacles provokes several policy recommendations that have the potential to contribute to a business environment more conducive to the development and uptake of wearable technology. Entrepreneurs in wearable technology can benefit from a regulatory framework more adapted to their domain, specifically concerning privacy issues related to storage and handling of personal data collected by wearable devices. [1]
Also, the uptake of wearable technology can benefit from further improvements in the regulation of costs associated with mobile data roaming. Finally, policymakers could spur the development and uptake of wearable technology by encouraging its integration in medical devices. [2]

Co-design of smart sensors and integration into firefighters or dives PPEs includes the integration of different sensors containing microcontrollers, communication modules and adequate software applications for data processing to measure biomedical (pulse, temperature, pulse, oxygen level) or environmental parameters (oxygen level, depth, pressure, temperature, gas composition) to help workers in their activity and ensure that working conditions are safe. The integration of wearable smart sensors into textile products is mainly based on sensors' flexibility and miniaturization, while integrating some smart sensors for diving or fire protection consists of integrating some rigid components. 

Energy harvesting devices based on textiles represents an alternative to the classical battery with limited life and energy because it can obtain energy from different sources (solar energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, chemical energy and electromagnetic waves). This chapter presents the main aspects of wearable energy harvesting devices, textile materials used, and technologies used for developing harvesters.

Ethics related to smart textiles have a lot to tackle. Ethics, understood as the way how the new and smart applications that smart textiles provide, are a sensitive topic. And it is sensitive because most of those applications manage not only personal and private data of the person who is using the wearable, but also vital (physiological) data, especially when we are talking about smart protective equipment.
Furthermore, not only the data management is a key factor to consider in guaranteeing a safe use of the smart textiles, but also safety issues directly related with the health and/or potential health damages a wearable could generate on humans.
This paper attempts to explain how both data and physical care are crucial factors to take care about when we are using smart textiles products in order to ensure its safety in all its dimensions, not only when it is being used but also afterwards. Particularly, the paper will focus on the data protection regulation on the European Union and on some theory and practical cases about physical security and ethics.

A smart textile is a functional textile material, that reacts actively with its environment and responds actively and automatically to inputs got from the environment. These textiles react to external stimuli (light, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.), and can communicate with other devices, to conduct energy, to transform into other materials, and to protect the wearer from environmental hazards.

Smart textiles are a new sector that seems to reach its maturity phase. So far, the sector has been oriented to the exploitation of advances in electronics and communication, failing however to intergrade them in a product that fulfils the requirements of a textile. The prototypes are becoming more “textile”, thanks to the development of new textile materials that are conductive and/or have inherent functions.

Emerging trend of electronics miniaturization together with growing integration of smart textiles with wearable devices is one of the key factors driving the market growth of smart textiles.  In the field of health and sports, smart textiles are increasingly being used to monitor muscle vibrations, regulate body temperature and protect against various hazards. Additionally, several innovations in electronics have made it easier to integrate smart textiles and compact electronic components such as sensors, batteries, and control panels into wearables and electronic devices. Moreover, increasing product introduction in the defense sector acts as another growth driver. (1)
Wearable healthcare devices will remain another major sector favored by cellular connectivity throughout the forecast period. These devices enable consumers to track vital health information inside and outside the hospital environment. (2)
Smart Textile Market is expected to reach US $30.45 billion by 2029 with an estimated annual growth rate of 28.4%, especially thanks to growth in the active/ultra-smart textile segment.

The world economy and market demands have been rapidly evolving over the past few years, and the demand for smart products is rising. Smart products with new facilities have been designed as a result of recent technical advances. However, producing smart products requires significant adjustments to product development procedures, which have seen numerous advances in recent years in terms of theory, methodologies, and approaches. Smart products can collect, process, and deliver the information. This chapter discusses the end-user requirements and perspective in selecting the smart products.

Co-Design of actuators based textiles for rehabilitation

The benefits of flexible actuators are their light weight, softness, and ability to assume any shape while displaying significant deformation in response to outside stimuli. Even though the expertise behind flexible actuators used in smart textiles is still in its infancy, the ability of actuator-based textiles to generate force and change shape could lead to some innovative new features and boost their intelligence. At the moment, smart textiles only very rarely use flexible actuator technology. However, a variety of applications are conceivable when combining flexible actuators and smart cloth. They can be used in multidimensional areas including healthcare applications. In this chapter, the design of actuator-based textiles for rehabilitation is reviewed and discussed. Undoubtedly, the field of smart textiles will be considerably impacted by the usage of flexible actuator knowledge in the coming years.
Combination of fabrics and sensing properties lead to the creation of what we call smart fabric sensors. They are sensitive to multiple physical and chemical stimuli such as changes in temperature, pressure, force, and electrical current, etc. Sensing elements can be incorporated into fabrics at any level depending on the structural fabric element being modified or sensitised. These smart fabric sensors can be considered as part of the more general term of smart fabric transducers [1].
We can divide the smart fabric transducers into three main categories which are sensors, actuators and batteries.
All these devices or components of a device that are made to some degree from textiles could find action in a variety of fields such as human health monitoring, sports, military, everyday life, food habits.

Currently, due to the development of human society, the focus is on the appearance of new smart textiles (  development in textile technologies, by new materials, nanotechnology and  electronics) for smart clothing, which will lead to an increase in the quality of life. So,  the next-generation textiles are  smart  textiles.
But the main requirement from smart clothing remaines the  comfort in wearing of clothing.

This chapter presents the fundamental aspects involved in the co-design of high selectivity smart sensors adjusted to PPE, employed for the detection of chemical and biological hazards in diverse working environments. Different types of chemical and biological sensors for PPE (face masks, respirators, gloves and clothing) have been outlined, in order to highlight the technological progress, selection and evaluation criteria and potentials of particular categories of functional materials and detection techniques.