From healthcare to transportation to advanced manufacturing, service systems make our lives safer, easier and more productive on a daily basis. New technologies that sense surroundings and learn from data are bringing intelligence to service systems, allowing them to center on people by incorporating individuals’ feedback and input. These systems create more value through adaptive and individualized interactions. Find out more in this news item.
Credit: Eric Seibel, University of Washington
What if you could wear something that would alert you when pollution, such as smog, is about to take its toll on your heart or lungs? That is what's "in the air" at the NSF-supported Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Advanced Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) at North Carolina State University. ASSIST Director Veena Misra and her multidisciplinary team are using nanotechnology to develop small, wearable sensors that monitor a person's immediate environment, as well as the wearer's vital signs. Find out more in this Science Nation video.
Credit: Science Nation, National Science Foundation
The Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Division of the Directorate for Engineering fosters partnerships to advance technological innovation and public-private partnerships. IIP invests in high-tech small businesses and collaborations between academia and industry to transform discoveries into innovative commercial technologies with societal benefits.
For the first time, researchers led by Tufts University engineers have integrated nanoscale sensors, electronics and microfluidics into threads -- ranging from simple cotton to sophisticated synthetics -- that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue to gather diagnostic data wirelessly in real time.
Kristy Jost, a student designer and scientist at Drexel University, works with a computerized knitting machine used to make rapid prototypes of real electronic fabrics. Jost is developing textile supercapacitors using 3-D knitting design and fabrication in the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Lab of Professor Genevieve Dion. Jost's interests lie in exploring and creating "smart" or electronic textiles--textiles that feel like regular fabric but can perform tasks such as monitoring the heart rate and blood pressure of the wearer or a jacket that heats up to adjust to the temperature outside.
September 19, 2016
These smart threads could save lives
New biomedical textiles show potential of smart, human-centered service systems
Engineers are joining forces with designers, scientists and doctors at Drexel University to produce new biomedical textiles, and the resulting smart clothes are not only fashionably functional, but could also be life savers.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), electrical and computer engineer Kapil Dandekar, industrial and fashion designer Genevieve Dion, and OB-GYN Owen Montgomery are incorporating RFID technology into their “belly bands” for women with high-risk pregnancies. The band continuously tracks data and alerts the doctor’s office via the Internet should the woman start contractions. A smaller version is being created for babies at risk for sleep apnea.
Developed at the intersection of engineering, medicine and design, these examples of new human-centered service technology show vast potential to improve healthcare.
NSF has invested approximately $34 million in such systems in the last three years, supporting innovative new partnership projects to create service systems that are smart and human-centric.
The research in this episode was supported by award #1430212, Wearable Smart Textiles Based on Programmable and Automated Knitting Technology for Biomedical and Sensor Actuation Applications, under the Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program.
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