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O-breath & High Performance Sportswear win invention award
21
Jan '11
Efforts of two Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel research projects have come to fruition. O-breath and High Performance Sportswear won an international invention award and a Chinese design award respectively.

With its innovation technology, O-breath won a silver medal at the 62nd International Trade Fair "Ideas - Inventions – New Products" (IENA) in Germany. Monitoring of vital signs such as the respiration rate is an important task in hospitals and clinical settings. The design of a monitoring device has to meet the dual objectives of accuracy and non-interference with other medical equipment.

Led by Prof Tao Xiaoming of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the O-breath project is a development of a wearable system featuring a textile belt integrated with polymeric optical fiber sensors in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI) Room.

O-breath is a photonic strain sensing system which is developed for detecting repeated large deformations. The central part is the fabric based strain sensor. The sensor consists of three essential components, namely an elastic textile fabric, a series of looped polymer optical fibers, on which specially designed v-grooves are made by laser cutting, and a unique joint structure which facilitates the deformation mode required by the v-groove optic fibers. The light transmission power of the integrated polymer optical fiber is measured during deformation. This fabric optical sensing device is immune to electromagnetic interference.

Moreover, its maximum working range would be up to 30% strain with high repeatability and low hysteresis, making it perfectly suitable for use in applications such as nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and underwater respiration-rate monitoring. It also has great potential for various applications, including wearable electronics, robotics, health care and industrial engineering.

Apart from the medical profession, technology is also applicable to daily life. A cycling collection of the HKRITA's research project High Performance Sportswear and Devices won the 5th China Sportswear Contest organised by China Fashion Association and Qiaodan Sports Co Ltd. The participating collection, Commax, displays a variety of advanced functions such as muscle fatigue reduction, moisture management, UV protection, and 3D seamless design which have met wearers' needs. The Commax collection took the gold award with its outstanding technological merits and design consideration.

The High Performance Sportswear and Devices project has studied the physiological and psychological needs of athletes during intensive exercise and competition and developed winter and summer running wear in addition to the cycling wear. Conducted by Prof Li Yi of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the research has undergone rigorous testing to confirm its function of thermal adaptability and reduction of muscle fatigue for athletes and in due course, of enhancing their performances.

HKRITA - The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel

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