Industry news

The textile research institute Textilforschungsinstitut Thüringen-Vogtland e.V. (TITV Greiz) presented the versatile possibilities of smart textiles for use in medicine, wellness and other body-related applications at Compamed 2021. Interested visitors got insights into the development and manufacturing of products and components in hall 13, booth D59.6 (at the IVAM joint booth).

As part of the Compamed high forum 2021 by IVAM, Pulkit Mishra, research associate at TITV Greiz, also explained the diverse possibilities of textile-based electrodes for medical technology in his lecture “Textile Based Electrodes and their Application in Medical Devices” on Wednesday, 17 November at 1.40 pm.

Therapy glove for stroke patients

tipstim therapy glove for stroke patients. Source: BOSANA Medizintechnik GmbH

Textiles equipped with electronics offer many advantages for applications close to the body compared to conventional medical electronics: they are flexible, breathable and comfortable and can also be equipped with various properties , from flame retardant to water repellent to antimicrobial. In addition to components for textile sensors, textile electrodes, heaters and other functionalizations, the TITV Greiz will present some of its developments at Compamed 2021 in Düsseldorf: a therapy glove for stroke patients, a back band for drug-free pain treatment, a vital parameter shirt for athletes and an environmentally friendly antimicrobial textile paint.

The therapy glove enables independent and uncomplicated treatment of stroke patients. This is because somatosensitive repetitive stimulation (SRS) has proven to be an efficient treatment method. The principle consists of stimulating the fingers via electrodes with temporal stimulus patterns that are optimized for triggering brain plasticity. Until now, adhesive electrodes have had to be positioned on the fingers in a complicated and time-consuming manner by medical professionals.

In the development of the TITV Greiz, embroidered textile electrodes are incorporated into a glove. The integration of the electrodes necessary for the excitation of the nerves into the glove allows a simple, anatomically correct positioning by the stroke patient himself. The embroidered individual electrodes are arranged in the fingers of the glove so that they can be interconnected in a textile manner. Due to the textile properties, they fit optimally to the finger surface and thus guarantee a high degree of functionality and easy handling.

The therapy glove was developed for the Neural Plasticity Lab at the Institute for Neuroinformatics at the Ruhr University Bochum, the Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil GmbH Bochum, Dept. of Neurological Traumatology and Neurorehabilitation, and Haynl Elektronik GmbH.

Drug free treatment of back pain

bomedus back strap for drug-free pain treatment. Source: Bomedus GmbH

The bomedus back strap is comfortable and easy to use for the drug-free treatment of back pain. It is based on a new form of therapy developed by Bomedus GmbH, Bonn, in which the endings of the pain fibres are specifically stimulated. The great advantage of this therapy is that the pain treatment can be carried out by each patient himself.

The core of the back strap are point-shaped textile electrodes. These are stitched directly onto the back strap using conductive yarn. The three-dimensional structure is achieved by the multiple overlapping of the conductive Elitex threads. The effect of the system is based on the specific arrangement of the textile electrodes and the stimulation pattern. Thus, even with very low pulse intensities, very high local pulse densities are achieved directly in the uppermost skin layer. This is where the thin nerve fibers end, the so-called small fibers, which detect stimuli that are harmful to the body and pass the information on to the brain. Here, this information is transformed into a pain perception. In order to reduce chronic pain, these thin nerve fibers must be specifically activated. The Small Fiber Activator is the control device for the electrodes. It transmits the clinically tested therapy pattern by combining electrical impulses with vibration. This reduces the overactivity of pain fibers that underlies chronic pain. The perception of pain can thus return to normal. The necessary three-dimensional structures are achieved by repeatedly superimposing conductive Elitex thread material.

Vital signs shirt for smart athletes

The sensors required for recording vital parameters have been integrated into the textile and transmit their recorded signal via an insulated conductor to a detachable electronic unit for processing. The results can be called up on mobile devices via Bluetooth. The shirt was developed in cooperation with the textile machine manufacturer Karl Mayer.

Environmentally friendly and health harmless antimicrobial textiles

Due to their surface structure, textile clothing provides an ideal breeding ground for microbial germ formation. Therefore, textiles for the medical or technical sector are equipped with fungicides or bactericides

Previous methods produce a high environmental impact and are harmful to health. The use of photodynamic inactivation (PDI) of bacteria represents an alternative to these previously common antimicrobial finishes. The physical mechanism is based on the effect of light in the visible spectrum on a dye acting as a photosensitizer in the presence of oxygen and the resulting generation of singlet oxygen.

The functionalization of textile fabrics with special dyes makes it possible to generate highly reactive singlet oxygen under exposure to light. Singlet oxygen (1O 2)
is highly efficient against bacteria, moulds, algae and is completely free of pollutants and without environmental impact and without the development of resistance, e.g. to antibiotics.

The generation of singlet oxygen is the most efficient and most gentle antimicrobial treatment, which is also active against viruses and multi-resistant germs. The functionalization of the textile carrier material is carried out using various conventional textile finishing processes. For dyeing, for example, impregnation can be carried out using the padder process. For this purpose, the special dye (photosensitizer) is dissolved in a binder system with further textile auxiliaries and applied to the carrier material by means of a dyeing padder. To improve the fastness to use, excess, unfixed dye is removed in a continuous washing process. With this dyeing process it is possible for the first time to permanently bind functional dyes, which produce sufficient singlet oxygen for an antimicrobial effect in daylight, to the textile carrier material.