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Body Interface System based on Wearable Integrated Monitorization.

Electronic wearable solutions are presently a major area under research and development. Several solutions were proposed in these past few years, comprehending different fields, namely in multimedia and health, where critical ages need to be monitored – babies, ill persons or elderly persons. Another important field is sport, for maintenance activity or athletes, where an accurate evaluation of their performance is essential for further improvements.

It is quite forward to understand that an electronic device embedded in a piece of garment can be by far more comfortable than using gadgets appended to our body, and eventually added whenever a new parameter needs to be measured. Another advantage is the ease to wear, since an entire piece of garment can contain all the essential equipment for accomplishing the tasks that was designed with no interference with our movements. However, almost all present solutions and prototypes make use of techniques for appending the electronic devices instead of actually embedding the electronics into the textile fabric. The inherent properties of the textile material – electrical properties and the ones related with its natural purpose in the textile point of view, are not completely explored, and thus the fabric continues to be mainly looked as the support for the electronic devices than a truly integrated solution, giving comfort to the user as well as providing the required information concerning the subject under study.


This project intends to explore the true integration of sensors and micro electronics in textile materials by using their intrinsic electrical properties, which can be used for data transmission, device power supply among other possibilities, without forgetting the other main purpose of the textile material – build a textile fabric for an individual with maximum comfort and fitting.

The ways or techniques of embedding sensors and all electrical equipment in textiles is of paramount importance for fabric production and constitutes an essential research area. By taking advantage of the newest developments concerning biosensors, microelectronics, specially designed textile materials for electronic use and technologies of fabric production, the research team will develop the necessary know how for fully integrate microelectronic devices in textile fabrics, by means of an adequate design of the proposed fabric, a careful proposal of textile materials for maximum comfort and body fitting, perfect adaptability of textile material for sensor integration and consequent production, as well as the necessary instrumentation for measurement and applications for data analysis.

With a clear emphasis on health and well being, particularly in the area of high performance sport, rehabilitation and leisure activities, two solutions or prototypes will be proposed, each one completely autonomous and containing several micro sensors and actuators for measurement of different biological and physiological parameters. The complete set of sensors will allow the simultaneous acquisition of all information that usually is obtained by means of separate experiments, enabling the subject global behaviour analysis and alarm triggering whenever abnormalities are detected. Electromyography, cardiac rhythm, respiratory effort, oxygen consumption, displacement cadence, trunk and limb rotation and hydrodynamic pressure are some of the parameters of particular interest to be embedded in a wearable fabric for biomechanical research.

The first prototype consists in one wearable intended to be used in our natural environment and the second prototype will be used in under water activity, which constitute a much more hazardous environment for measurements and data transmission. The problems related with the accurate spatial sensor positioning in a moving body and the operating time of some sensors when submitted to very high humidity environments (e.g. electromyography) will be carefully studied in order to successfully embed the electronic devices in the sport or health wearable fabric.


Data gathering and transmission are obviously essential for this project and will also be embedded in the proposed textile fabric, proposing the data transmission by means of wireless transmission and using protocols such as Zigbee. Signal processing and analysis, pattern recognition are also tasks included in this project, thus requiring an application for convenient analysis, which will combine the tools for mathematical modelling and multivariate statistical techniques, some of them already developed by this research team.

Result validation of the two prototypes will be conducted by direct comparison with present systems, previously used and developed by this research team. Finally, a detailed study and interpretation concerning the biomechanical point of view will be conducted, which will afford new research opportunities for further developments in this area of health sciences.


André Catarino, Helder Carvalho, Ana Maria Rocha, Graça Minas, João Monteiro, João Paulo Vilas Boas, Leandro Rodrigues Machado, Susana Ribeiro, José Duarte, Miguel Velhote Correia, Carolina Vila-Chã, Ana Sofia Silva, Antonio Salazar.


Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) – PTDC/EEA-ELC/70803/2006

Main Publications

  • Ana S. Silva, Antonio J. Salazar, Carla M. Borges, and Miguel V. Correia, WEARABLE MONITORING UNIT FOR SWIMMING PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS, Communications in Computer and Information Science, Springer‐Verlag (in press)
  • J. Paulo Vilas‐Boas, Leandro Machado, Susana Soares, Ricardo J. Fernandes, António B. Lima, Miguel Velhote Correia, SWIMMING BIOPHYSICAL RELEVANT PARAMETERS EXTRACTED FROM VELOCIMETRY AND ACCELEROMETRY, In: Veloso AP, Alves F, Fernandes RJ, Conceição F, Vilas‐Boas JP (eds), Applied Biomechanics in Sports, Portuguese Journal of Sport Sciences, 11 (Suppl. 3): 85‐89, 2011

PhD. Theses

  • Ganni Montagna, O VESTUÁRIO INTELIGENTE COMO FERRAMENTA PARA O DESIGN DA PERFORMANCE DESPORTIVA, Doutoramento desde Março de 2008, Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa , Bolsa de doutoramento SFRH/BD/66064/2009

Master Theses

  • João Paulo Couto Pinto, IMPLEMENTAÇÃO E TESTE DE SISTEMA DE MEDIÇÃO A SER INTEGRADO EM FATO DE NATAÇÃO, Mestrado Integrado em Engenharia Electrotécnica e de Computadores. Concluído em 17‐Jul‐2008
  • Joaquim Pedro Pacheco, SISTEMA DE PROCESSAMENTO E ANÁLISE DE SINAIS PARA FATO DE NATAÇÃO, Mestrado Integrado em Engenharia Electrotécnica e de Computadores. Concluído em 31‐Jul‐2010
  • Luís Carlos Lemos Barros, ELECTROMIOGRAFIA EMBEBIDA EM TÊXTEIS, Mestrado em Micro/Nano Tecnologias, Universidade do Minho. Concluído em 20‐10‐2010
  • Joel Nuno Silva Alves, BIOSWIM – IMPLEMENTAÇÃO DE REDE DE SENSORES (BAN) EM FATO DE NATAÇÃO, Mestrado em Engenharia Electrónica Industrial e Computadores, Universidade do Minho. Concluído em 20‐12‐2010
  • Helder Covas, SOFTWARE PARA AQUISIÇÃO E PROCESSAMENTO DE SINAIS VITAIS E BIOMECÂNICOS POR REDE SEM FIOS, Mestrado em Engenharia Electrónica Industrial e Computadores, Universidade do Minho. Redacção da dissertação, prevista apresentação em Outubro de 2011


  • André Catarino, Maria de Jesus Dias, Helder Carvalho, Ana Maria Rocha, ELÉCTRODOS BASEADOS EM SUBSTRATOS TÊXTEIS, Pedido de Patente de Invenção Nacional no 105517


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