While recent years have seen an increase in research on and advances in robotics and its different applications within the medical, industrial and service sections among others, there has been a similar trend in research on the use of textile as a means of sensing, communication and interfacing – leading to the area of ‘smart textile’ and wearable devices.
As these two fields advance forward, there are more areas where overlaps of interests and needs are witnessed. The advent of soft robotics, has brought with it challenges in sensing and particularly a need for soft, embedded sensors, which are difficult or, in some cases, impossible to implement with existing sensing technologies. But solutions can be seen, and have been implemented, by researchers within the smart textile arena. This is also the case in wearable robotics, such as exoskeletons or prosthesis, where there is a need for interfacing the robotic devices with the human body and its biosignals; difficult and intrusive to implement with conventional sensing methods, but better integrated through the use of textile-based sensing devices. These are just examples of how the textile and robotics experts can come together to create new, more capable and better integrated devices.
This interdisciplinary workshop brings together experts from the different sectors involved in the above, namely the textile industry, crafts experts and researchers of interest within the areas of robotics, medical devices and wearables. The aim is to create an ongoing forum for discussion, networking and identification of consortiums for collaboration to bring about further advances in the area of smart textiles and robotics.