Smart textiles: A design approach for garments using conductive fabrics

Li Li, Wai Man Au, Tao Hua, Ding Feng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Smart textiles have become a dominant trend in future textiles development, especially wearable electronics. However, electronic garment designs often look more 'technical' than 'textile', which is reflected in the slow growth of the market. Therefore, a design approach is proposed to design the conductive paths of electric stimulation garments in three steps: modelling, division and conquer, and pattern refinement to enhance the aesthetics. A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) knitwear garment with a refined conductive network was developed and evaluated. The output waveforms and spectrums of the resulting TENS knitwear are similar to those of TENS signals. The resistance variations are smaller than 16 per cent after optimization, which is largely due to truncation and deformation. This method could provide a feasible and systematic approach to the design of electric stimulation textiles by using conductive fabrics to meet the requirements of both functionality and aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-154
Number of pages18
JournalDesign Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Acupuncture
  • Conductive fabrics
  • Electric stimulation
  • Smart textiles
  • Wearable electronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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