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TexBoost promises to revolutionize automotive sector with smart car seats


by IT on 22-01-2021
Logic Computer Science IST Amílcar Sernadas Logic Prize
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IT researchers have developed a unique solution for car seat covers, capable of monitoring drivers’ comfort and biometric signals, as a way to reduce road accidents.
 

Pedro Pinho, José Vieira and Carolina Gouveia, the research team from Aveiro, represented IT in the 3-year mobilizing project “TexBoost - less Commodities more Specialties” of the Textile Cluster: Technology and Fashion. 
 

The project comprises a set of R&D initiatives, organized into five technical PPS (Products, Processes and Services) that, collectively, aim to create a new generation of textile solutions for consumers and companies, through the use of emerging and cutting-edge technologies.
 

Our reseachers’ task was to develop and integrate a bio-radar system in a car seat cover, for which they designed textile antennas, creating a “sensor network that monitors drivers’ comfort and physiological state, in order to improve road safety”, as they explain.
 

“The sensor network includes a vital signs sensor, humidity sensors, temperature sensors, and a pressure matrix sensor, distributed in different areas of the seat cover. All of them were developed using textile technologies and built on the same substrate material”, said José Vieira.
 

The research team had several volunteers test and validate the system’s performance, after which they implemented a fully operating algorithm, in real time, for the breathing signal acquisition, processing and display. Such unique technology has already led them to submit a patent.
 

The team’s initiative fell into the PPS 4 category — iETextiles (Electronic Textiles) — which focused on research and development of wearables for sensing and monitoring in sport, mobility and home textiles.
 

The TexBoost consortium, led by RIOPELE and under the technical coordination of CITEVE (Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industry of Portugal), involves a total of 43 entities, of which 23 are industrial companies of the textile industry and 15 are non-corporate entities of the R&I system. 
 

Co-financed by COMPETE 2020, the project represents a total investment of 9.2 million euros, corresponding to an incentive of 6.3 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).