Networks of sensors placed on the skin can provide continuous measurement of human physiological signals for applications in clinical diagnostics, athletics, and human-machine interfaces. Wireless and battery-free sensors are particularly desirable for reliable long-term monitoring, but current approaches for achieving this mode of operation rely on near-field technologies that require close proximity (at most a few centimeters) between each sensor and a wireless readout device. Our near-field-enabled clothing capable of establishing wireless power and data connectivity between multiple distant points (up to meter scale) on the body to create a network of battery-free sensors interconnected by proximity to functional textile patterns. The clothing, which is fabricated by using computer-controlled embroidery to integrate conductive threads with near-field-responsive patterns on normal textiles, is completely fabric-based and free of fragile silicon components. Network systems based on the near-field-enabled clothing have been demonstrated for the real-time, multi-node measurement of spinal posture and continuous sensing of temperature and gait during exercise.
Compatible with near-field communication (NFC), wireless, battery-free
The clothing is compatible with existing devices based on near-field
communication technology, including those operating in the 13.56 MHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band. The clothing can interact wirelessly with nearby devices including wireless readout devices and battery-free sensors without the need for connectors or energy-storage components.
Long working distance and multiplexing
The clothing capable of establishing wireless power and data connectivity between multiple distant points (up to meter scale) on the body to create a network of battery-free skin-mountable sensors.
High data security
The clothing manipulates the distribution of electromagnetic field generated from the reader while requiring both reader and sensor nodes to be proximity (few centimeters) to the near-field-responsive patterns. The operation within near-field physically enables the sensors network with high data security, without requiring additional cryptography techniques.
The traditional textile fabrication method, computer-controlled embroidery, is used to automatically integrate conductive thread with designed patterns on normal textiles. Both fabrication equipment and material are commercially available. The clothing fabrication process is compatible with the current industrial method.
The clothing is completely fabric-based, composed of conductive thread and normal textiles, which is highly suitable for daily wear and wash. Its electrical performance is robust (<5% variation) to repeated bending (minimum 1 mm radius) over 5000 cycles or immersion in 70 °C hot water for over 200 h.
The near-field-enabled clothing establish real-time readout of wireless battery-free sensors by a single wearable device, allow full-body monitoring for both clinical applications in