Application of Sensor Technology in Textiles

Sensor Technology in Textile:
Sensor is an instrument that can detect and measure changes and transmit the information to a controlling device. Normally a sensor is a converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an (today mostly electronic) instrument. In this modern technology era sensor is widely used in all branch of the textile industry, at all of the departments. Without applying of sensor technology efficiency of the machine will be decrease, wastage will be increase and overall cost will be increase. Besides, accident can be occurred without using sensor in textile machine. Without machinery, textile sensor systems are capable of capturing comprehensive physiologic data from the body and are designed to be seamlessly integrated into everyday garments.

Wearable monitoring provides a comfortable and user-friendly way to obtain body data measurements to assist consumers in managing their top wellness concerns of weight loss, physical health and energy level. Textronics sells sensor components and markets its own line of clothes for personal monitoring under the brand name NuMetrex™. Now a days, Sensor is widely used in smart textiles. So, we must have to know about the Sensor technology and it’s operating and working procedure to become a Good Textile Engineer.

Various sensor technology in textile
Figure 1: Various sensors in textile

Sensors that are part of the textile and that are resistant to mechanical, chemical and thermal influences must react to all different kinds of forces. Therefore, various sensor concepts that rely on physical, chemical and thermal mechanisms of action are suitable for application. They help detect forces, displacements, thermal energy, humidity, chemicals, UV radiation and other influences.

In order to enable integration into the textile, textile technological workability must be secured, and sensor integration should take place during the production. For the purpose of measuring different influences at the same time, sensors should be groupable. Moreover, a modular construction method guarantees optimal adaption to the operating conditions. Depending on these modular connections, influences through materials, combinations of materials or additive compounds, the way of producing fiber or the finishing treatment, the characteristics and possibilities of the sensors may vary.

Smart clothes and e-textiles can act like a second skin to help monitor what goes on under real skin. Electronic or digital sensors woven into or painted onto the clothes can track people’s body changes and surrounding environmental conditions. Some researchers are hopeful that they will be able to use the body’s natural energy to power smart clothes. Because the sensors are part of the clothing, they can be placed in direct contact with a person’s skin and can detect an amazing range of information about the wearer.

It is seen in Textile Industry so far that, the Sensor Problems and Sensor Technology related issues are being observed and fixed by the Computer Engineers. But, as the Textile Engineers knows everything about Textile except Sensor, it is the time to learn about the Sensor Technology to have an all-round performance in Textile Engineering life.

The offered range of textile machine sensors is developed by trusted vendors, who ensure to made it utilizing high-grade raw material and innovative technology. Along with this, the offered range of textile machine sensors is ideally utilized in different sectors such as textile industry foe sensing applications.

Features of Textile Sensors:

  1. Longer functional life
  2. High performance
  3. Easy maintenance
  4. Reliable operations

Types of Sensor Used in Textile Industry:
In Textile, two types of Sensor are used. One is Capacitive Sensor; another is Optical Sensor. Again, Optical Sensor is divided into two types-

  1. One dimensional optical sensor,
  2. Two-dimensional optical sensor.

Capacitive Sensor:
A capacitor is an electric component consisting of two opposing electrodes that are divided by an insulating material. Capacitive Sensor is used for determination of mass variation. In textile spinning industry, the Capacitive sensor is widely used in order to determine the production parameters. By taking the calculation result from the capacitive sensor, some of the spinning machines are to be set up.

Optical Sensor:
Optical sensor is used for determination of diameter variation. It has advantages with regard to visual appearance of the yarn. One dimensional sensor comes to very close to observation of human eye; whereas, two-dimensional Optical sensor offers advantages for the determination of the roundness and the density of the Yarn.

The other major sensors are: Proximity Sensors, Inductive Sensor, Namur Sensors, Field Plate/Hall Sensors, Photo Electric Sensors, Sensors and Electronic module for textile – Indigenous /Imported Machines, Connector and cable assembly and Peripheral and Relay Units, Certified Zener Barriers, Field Programmable smart Sensors for which WIPO patent is pending.

Sensor is used in all kind of textile machineries but widely used in machines such as Air-Jet Loom, Auto Coner 138, 238 / Auto Coro, Carding, Drawing Frame, Pre Winder, Rapier Loom, Projectile Loom, Staubli Dobby 2605, P 7100, PU 85, PU 153, GTM Loom, Omni Loom, Ring Frame etc.

Application of Sensor Technology in Textile Industry:
Concerning the area of application field, textiles can be divided into clothing textiles and technical textiles, with the latter defining themselves by their functionality in the first place. Textile sensor requirements generally result from different application areas. Depending on the purpose of the product, the amount of integrated electronics varies quite a bit.

Different sensors used in clothing
Figure 2: Different sensors used in clothing

A lot of thinkable applications help men on many occasions. Sensors that detect data correlating to physical body functions (e.g., pulse, temperature) offer comfort and safety. Even visual aids for amaurotics may be common devices in medical science in a few years. Information would be transmitted from the sensor through the textile, which then stimulates the cutaneous nerves. Textile sensors can serve meaningfully in the monitoring of hazard areas, infirm or chronically sick persons and sports persons. Soft sensors are textile piezoelectric resistor-sensors for the detection of movement and respiration. The piezoelectric effect can be enforced by exterior mechanical influences. They add importance to the functional textiles.

Movement and acceleration sensors integrated into the textiles could transmit data to a microprocessor, which then analyses and evaluates the information. This way, feedback on wrong movements could prevent harmful posture and movement after injuries and in rehabilitation. Protection systems for motorcyclists, for example, can be realized through movement sensors.

Depending on the application area, sensors from different production-method levels are combined in one system. As a consequence, the textiles used for textile-based sensors must be adjusted carefully to the particular application to guarantee the system’s proper functionality.

There are also different types of sensor technology used in textile industry. Such as,

  1. Humidity and moisture monitoring
  2. Pressure-mapping systems
  3. Fiber-coated sensors
  4. Printed sensors etc.

Application of sensor technology in medical textile:
Clothing is a basic need of a human being besides food and shelter. About 6000 years ago, man started to replace the inflexible animal skin with manufactured textiles. The body protection functionality has been enlarged by aesthetic attributes. Beyond their protective and aesthetic functions, clothes as our second skin have the potential to acquire an additional functionality as a personalized and flexible information platform.

Wearable computing will change the mobile computing landscape, provided that the unobtrusive integration of electronics in our daily outfit becomes feasible. Today people are actively involved in their health and increasing their activity level to prevent health risk factors. Applications in the medical field are highly accepted by customers because of personal benefits provided like extending active lifetime by disease prevention or disease management based on objective measures. Vital signs like ECG, EEG or respiration monitored almost continuously can give information about the cardiovascular system of a patient.

A recent approach is to investigate concepts in which sensors are integrated into clothing for monitoring purposes: measuring signals of movements, temperature, GSR and patient’s activities. To pick up electrical signals by intelligent textiles, one essential component of a system design is using an appropriate electrode design. Permanent monitoring, which will become possible with textile sensors, opens up new perspectives for traditional parameters too. Permanent monitoring supported by self-learning devices will allow the set-up of personal profiles for each individual, so that conditions deviating from the normal state can be traced as soon as possible. There are a variety of sensing technologies that could be envisioned for context recognition: for instance audio, video, photography, acceleration, light, air and body temperature, heat flux, humidity, pressure, heart rate, strain gauges, GSR, ECGs or electromyograms. Streaming video is overly expensive on bandwidth and many physiology sensors require skin contact or special outfits. There is clearly a trade-off between informative and unobtrusive sensing.

The development and application of textile-based sensors demands a new way of thinking. Expertise from the textile, electronic and computer science branches must be combined with knowledge of biological, chemical, physical and medical branches to help emerging application areas and solutions. The developing process of a textile-based sensor starts from ground zero every time. There is no standardized tool for choosing sensor modules and materials for designing functionalized textiles, although knowledge has already been generated on textile sensors in many well-known research projects. A classified catalogue that enables direct selection of sensor modules gives developers in the textile industry and research in the near future an overview of all developed textile-based sensors in different application areas.


  1. Electronic Textiles: Smart Fabrics and Wearable Technology Edited by Tilak Dias
  2. Electronics in Textiles and Clothing: Design, Products and Applications by C. Vigneswaran and L. Ashok Kumar
  3. E-Textiles by Jan Toth-Chernin
  4. Handbook of Smart Textiles Edited by Xiaoming Tao

You may also like:

  1. An Overview of Smart Textiles
  2. NFC Tag Embedded Smart Textiles
  3. Recent Developments of Smart and Intelligent Textiles
  4. Applications of Smart Textiles for Protective Purposes
  5. Electronic Textiles: Properties, Types, Manufacturing and Applications
  6. Materials and Applications of Smart and Interactive Textiles

Share this Article!

Leave a Comment