Scientists Create Smart Sports Legging That Determines When Someone Is Tired of Exercising

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Scientists from ETH Zurich have created smart sports leggings that determine when a person needs to rest while working out. The leggings are equipped with an electronic yarn that accurately measures body movements, predicts exhaustion levels, and alerts a linked smartphone app.

Innovation can measure when someone is tired

This innovation solves the problem of exhaustion leading to injuries during physical activity. Professor Carlo Menon, the head of the Biomedical and Mobile Health Technology Lab, and his team tested the sensor by incorporating it into a pair of athletic leggings. Testers could determine if they needed to rest simply by checking their smartphone.

 The patent-pending innovation from ETH Zurich may lead to the development of a new breed of intelligent clothing. As per the researchers, most of the present offerings in the market feature retrofitted electronic components such as batteries, sensors, or chips. This increases the cost and complicates the production and upkeep of the garments.

The research team is transforming their prototype into a market-ready product, believing that smart clothes are the future of wearables. Valeria Galli, a doctoral student in Professor Menon’s group, believes that people are wearing smart clothes without even realizing it, and the potential applications of smart clothes stretch beyond sports to the workplace, rehabilitation medicine, and preventing exhaustion-related injuries. In addition, Professor Menon says they aim to make smart clothing more affordable and available to a broader audience.

How does the yarn work?

The research team has created a unique yarn sensor that measures the change in people’s movements when tired, which is particularly noticeable when running. The yarn sensor, consisting of conductive elastic rubber and a rigid wire wrapped around it, creates an electric field that forms a capacitor, measuring people’s strides as they become less regular and shorter when tired.

Incorporating the yarn into the thigh area of a pair of running leggings made from stretchy material means the yarn will expand and contract in sync with the wearer’s running movements.

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