This paper presents research into a user-friendly electronic sleeve (e-sleeve) with integrated electrodes in an array for wearable healthcare. The electrode array was directly printed onto an everyday clothing fabric using screen printing. The fabric properties and designed structures of the e-sleeve were assessed and refined through interaction with end users. Different electrode array layouts were fabricated to optimize the user experience in terms of comfort, effectivity and ease of use. The e-sleeve uses dry electrodes to facilitate ease of use and the electrode array can survive bending a sufficient number of times to ensure an acceptable usage lifetime. Different cleaning methods (washing and wiping) have been identified to enable reuse of the e-sleeve after contamination during use. The application of the e-sleeve has been demonstrated via muscle stimulation on the upper limb to achieve functional tasks (e.g., hand opening, pointing) for eight stroke survivors.
Keywords: e-textiles; electrode; functional electrical stimulation (FES); muscle stimulation; printed electronics; rehabilitation; wearable.