Monday 20 July 2020

Hand-Made Embroidered Electromyography

Some of you will know that I have had a long standing relationship with CoRE, Centre for Robotics Research at Kings College London.  Last year I was involved in an EPSRC GCRF project to investigate the potential of hand sewn e-textile muscle sensors as a reusable and lower cost alternative to mass produced sensors.

I am very pleased to announce that thanks to Samuel Pitou and Matthew Howard’s hard work, a paper on this project has just been published in the MDPI Journal Sensors.  You can read about it here

I ran a series of workshops with the women’s group Shelanu in Birmingham and at the Science Gallery in London to help  test this hypothesis.  Participants were asked to sew and test a given number of sensors and these were then laboratory tested later.

So this is the technical jargon bit…..When you move a muscle in your body electrical impulses, electromyopthy, can be measured on the surface of the skin (sEMG).  This research project was to compare the results for hand embroidered sEMGs alongside machine stitched and mass produced single use stick on sensors.  The rationale was that because they are on a fabric substrate there is potential for laundering and therefore re-use which may be a cheaper and more sustainable.   Because a hand sewn sensor does not need expensive equipment and relies on straight forward sewing techniques there is also the potential for them to be made by Community Interest Companies (CIC) within the populations of the low income countries where they might be used.

Want to know what the point is?  This short film shows embroidered sEMGs picking up electrical impulses on the skin to drive a robotic limb

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