The goal of this project is to develop novel, unprecedented garments for haptic stimulation comprising flexible and wearable textile actuators and sensors, including control electronics, as a new type of textile-based large area electronics. These wearables are based on a new kind of textile muscles which yarns are coated with electromechanically active polymers and contract when a low voltage is applied. Textile muscles offer a completely novel and very different quality of haptic sensation, accessing also receptors of our tactile sensory system that do not react on vibration, but on soft pressure or stroke. Furthermore, being textile materials, they offer a new way of designing and fabricating wearable haptics and can be seamlessly integrated into fabrics and garments. For these novel form of textile muscles, we foresee a huge range of possible applications in haptics: for ergonomics, movement coaching in sports, or wellness, for enhancement of virtual or augmented reality applications in gaming or for training purposes, for inclusion of visually handicapped people by providing them information about their environment, for stress reduction or social communication, adaptive furniture, automotive industry and many more.
“This new technology really is a revolution that opens up new endless possibilities.”
– Jan van Erp, University Twente