The Development of an IMU Integrated Clothes for Postural Monitoring Using Conductive Yarn and Interconnecting Technology

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Nov 7;17(11):2560. doi: 10.3390/s17112560.


Spinal disease is a common yet important condition that occurs because of inappropriate posture. Prevention could be achieved by continuous posture monitoring, but most measurement systems cannot be used in daily life due to factors such as burdensome wires and large sensing modules. To improve upon these weaknesses, we developed comfortable "smart wear" for posture measurement using conductive yarn for circuit patterning and a flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) for interconnections. The conductive yarn was made by twisting polyester yarn and metal filaments, and the resistance per unit length was about 0.05 Ω/cm. An embroidered circuit was made using the conductive yarn, which showed increased yield strength and uniform electrical resistance per unit length. Circuit networks of sensors and FPCBs for interconnection were integrated into clothes using a computer numerical control (CNC) embroidery process. The system was calibrated and verified by comparing the values measured by the smart wear with those measured by a motion capture camera system. Six subjects performed fixed movements and free computer work, and, with this system, we were able to measure the anterior/posterior direction tilt angle with an error of less than 4°. The smart wear does not have excessive wires, and its structure will be optimized for better posture estimation in a later study.

Keywords: IMU modules; conductive yarn; monitor; posture; smart wear; wearable.