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Title: Creation of wearable electronic clothing addressing end-user needs
Authors: Chui, Yin Ting
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: The aim of this research was to create contemporary intelligent clothing collections by adopting an end user oriented design approach with the application of thermal function by the use of conductive yarns. The study focused on smart wearable technology, user oriented concepts, conductive material analysis, thermal functional textiles, knitting and weaving technology, batteries and control system electronics, contemporary fashion design method, and garment design skills. Literature review was firstly done which was categorized into two main areas: smart wearable technology and end user oriented design method. They included review on the fields of 1) smart wearable materials, 2) wearable electronics, 3) functionality of smart wearable technology, 4) product experience, 5) interactive aesthetics, 6) intelligent garments designed for aesthetic purpose, 7) conceptual design framework of functional garments, and 8) practice based research methodology. The potential gap was then identified according to the previous review. Followed with that, a comprehensive physical and chemical analysis on conductive yarns was proposed. The systematic assessment method was divided into four stages: 1) yarn stage, 2) fabric stage, 3) apparel stage and 4) end user stage. The series of experiments included 1) chemical nature analysis, 2) differential scanning calorimetry analysis, 3) resistance analysis, 4) open circuit of conductive yarns, 5) mechanical properties analysis, 6) assessment on resistance change after abrasion, 4) laundry test, 5) assessment on resistance change according to temperature, and 6) corrosion resistance test. This method simulated the main challenges industrialists might face in actual application of the conductive yarns. The level of quality requirement and the importance of each property tests to different sectors of the garment industry were evaluated. Conductive yarns with suitable yarn properties as analyzed from the previous stage were selected to be knitted or woven into conductive fabrics. Thirteen type of knitted structures and three types of woven structures were constructed and their thermal functional efficiency was investigated by infrared imaging technology and surface micrograph analysis. The temperature rise and distribution of the fabric surfaces were observed. This investigation of the development of thermal functional wear was then followed by the innovation of battery and controller device package. Several types of battery were reviewed for the selection of the most suitable one of the case. Four main stages were then carried out during the whole design and manufacturing process of controller device: 1) schematic design and analysis, 2) printed circuit board layer arrangement and fabrication, 3) purchase of electronic components and soldering, and 4) assembly and testing. The assembled electronics and batteries package was then inserted into a tailor made leather case ready for attachment on the garments for supplying and controlling power level.
Garment design skills and contemporary fashion design methods were incorporated into the creation of prototypes. Nine thermal functional prototypes were developed which included different garment items: coat, cardigan, skirt, dress, cape, etc. These prototypes include both menswear and womenswear for causal and formal occasions. They were constructed with the aid of knitting, weaving and sewing technology. Each item possessed at least one heating panel, which was connected with the controller device by conductive paths. To further pursue the possibility of thermal functional technology to be immersed into human daily life and the immersion of wearable technology to the fashion world, three womenswear collections were developed with a wider range of heatable apparel items. These collections were created with contemporary fashion design process including building up of theme, coloration, fabrication, sketches and hence, the final garments with enhanced aesthetics and trendy elements to meet the target market's demand. Conclusion and suggestions for further research of the topic were finally presented by the end of the research. This multi-scale study of designing thermal functional fashion apparel using end user oriented approach contributed in displaying how smart fabric with improved user interface could be better immersed in the apparel market addressing the importance of user-friendliness, durability, portability and miniaturization. It also serves as an example to industrialists and designers on how to overcome the challenges they may experience on the area of a) conductive material selection with systematic methodology, b) conductive fabric structure development, c) power control system creation, and d) seamless application of smart wearable technology into marketable fashion garment collections, when developing wearable electronic clothing.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Textile fabrics -- Technological innovations
Smart materials
Wearable computers
Pages: xxviii, 266 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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