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Title: Investigation into the application of sensor technologies within smart garments
Author: Cleland, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Active ageing is presented as a potential panacea for the challenges faced due to population ageing. Work presented in this Thesis improves the integration and evaluation of sensor technology, embedded within a clothing system, designed specifically for the active ageing. A review of wearable sensors highlighted issues involving sensor integration, placement, validation and the effects of body shape and size as key challenges. These issues guided the focus of four studies within the Thesis. A study assessing the effect placing an accelerometer within clothing had on step count accuracy has been undertaken. Results demonstrated that a reliable step-count can be achieved from accelerometers placed within clothing at the sternum, waist or lower back. Subsequently, an investigation into the optimal location of an accelerometer to classify a range of everyday activities was perfonned. Results demonstrated data from the hip as the best single location to perfonn activity recognition. Following on from this, 3D body scanning was used to assess the effect of adiposity on the accuracy of step count obtained from an accelerometer. This study established that neither BMI, waist circumference nor ABVol had an effect on step count accuracy obtained from an accelerometer placed at the chest, waist or lower back. This adds clarity to the current inconsistencies within the literature. Considering a different fonn of sensor technology, the perfonnance of textile electrodes, integrated within custom fitted garments was investigated. Performance tests indicated that the custom garments did not perform accurately during tasks which included movement of the arms and torso. The performance during these tasks, did, however, vary considerably between subjects. The incorporation of these findings within the design of smart garments will help to ensure that wearable sensors and systems meet their potential, particularly in the role of supporting the health and wellbeing of an active ageing society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available