Smart Textiles


Research area

Smart textiles (intelligent textiles)

During the last decades, textiles have entered a new era, the one of smart textiles. Many definitions passed in review, but the one of wearable textile system gained interest and importance in the latest years. 
smart textiles

A wearable textile system basically comprises following components:

  • Sensors to detect body or environmental parameters
  • A data processing unit to collect and process the obtained data
  • An actuator that can give a signal to the wearer
  • A communication device that establishes a wireless communication link with a nearby base station
  • An energy supply that enables the entire system to work
  • Interconnections that connect the different components

The challenge for the textile community is to manufacture as many components as possible out of textile material.


Since the year 2000, the Centre for Textile Science and Engineering (CTSE) has been involved in several projects related to smart textiles.

On the one hand, we do research, through developing

  • models of human body and protective textiles for estimation of skin sensorial comfort and life risk of fire-fighters working in extreme external conditions: Magnum Bonum
  • electrically conductive textiles that can be applied in sensor and interconnection structure
  • a textile-based heat flux sensor to detect temperature differences in textile applications: HYDRAX
  • integrated solutions to improve the sleeping quality: ALL4REST
  • a new system to study the influence of textiles on the human body: Creation
  • planar textile antennas for wireless communication between the smart textile materials and a nearby base station: PROeTex

This research has led to the following PhDs

2015 – PEDOT:PSS Charge Storage Devices Integrated into Textiles for Smart Textile Applications by Sheilla Atieno Odhiambo

2014 – Textronics – Definition, Development and Characterization of Fibrous Organic Field Effect Transistor by Lina Rambausek

2012 – Study of Screen-Printed Electro-Conductive Textile Materials by Ilda Kazani

2011 – Electro-Conductive yarns: their Development, Characterization and Applications by Anne Schwarz

2009 – Design of Planar Antennas based on Textile Materials by Carla Hertleer

On the other hand we focus on knowledge coordination, dissemination and transfer:

  • with the SmartPro project: companies from textiles, electronics and ICT are stimulated to collaborate and develop smart textiles and wearable intelligence
  • the Smart@fire project encourages companies and researchers and provides them with financial means to develop innovative ICT solutions that better protect firefighters and help prevent accidents, and to integrate them into Smart Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • with the organization of Smart Textiles Salons
  • by promoting the commercial exploitation of organic and large area electronics and establishing a link with smart textiles: COLAE project
  • by coordinating European research initiatives related to smart textiles: SYSTEX project
  • by developing the first e-learning course on smart textiles through the Tritex project
  • by making prototypes for knowledge to individuals: Textiel mobile project
  • by transferring knowledge to students of secondary schools: Smart School project
  • by promote textiles in Europe: CRYSALIS project

Contact and Bibliography

Prof. dr. ir. Lieva Van Langenhove