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Title: Designing wearable sensors for Preventative Health : an exploration of material, form and function
Author: Prahl, Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 3737
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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The financial burden on global healthcare systems has reached unprecedented levels and as a result, attention has been shifting from the traditional approach of disease management and treatment towards prevention (Swan, 2012). Wearable devices for Preventative Health have become a focus for innovation across academia and industry, thus this thesis explores the design of wearable biochemical and environmental sensors, which can provide users with an early warning, detection and monitoring system that could integrate easily into their existing lives. The research aims to generate new practical knowledge for the design and development of wearable sensors and, motivated by the identification of compelling design opportunities, merges three strands of enquiry. The research methodology supports this investigation into material, form and function through the use of key practice-based methods, which include Participatory Action Research (active immersion and participation in a particular community and user workshops) and the generation and evaluation of a diverse range of artefacts. Based on the user-centred investigation of the use case for biochemical and environmental sensing, the final collection of artefacts demonstrates a diverse range of concepts, which present biodegradable and recyclable nonwoven material substrates for the use in non-integrated sensors. These sensors can be skin-worn, body-worn or clothing-attached for in-situ detection and monitoring of both internal (from the wearer) and external (from the environment) stimuli. The research proposes that in order to engage a broad section of the population in a preventative lifestyle to significantly reduce the pressure on global healthcare systems, wearable sensors need to be designed so they can appeal to as many users as possible and integrate easily into their existing lifestyles, routines and outfits. The thesis argues that this objective could be achieved through the design and development of end-of-life considered and cost-effective substrate materials, non-integrated wearable form factors and meticulous consideration of a divergent range of user needs and preferences, during the early stages of design practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Textiles Technology