The Department of Electrical Engineering (Fakultät Elektrotechnik) at the West Saxon University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau; WHZ) is presenting a new type of cybersuit at the Hanover Fair. This system combines data goggles with networked sensors that are integrated in the suit.
The sensors record important vital signs and stress values, thus providing information about the health and performance of the wearer. The data goggles can immediately project warning messages and recommendations for action to the wearer’s eye when limit values are exceeded.
Novel combination of data goggles and sensor suit
The cybersuit combines the results of two research projects. The data goggles are equipped with a gaze control. This allows wearers to input data without manual intervention. The data goggles are also provided with additional sensors for measuring parameters directly on the head, such as sound and temperature. The sensor suit is being developed by the midasKMU junior research group. This suit integrates various sensors for measuring vital signs. Strain sensors record the movements of arms and legs. An ECG recording is used to monitor the heart rate, thus providing information about the stress on the wearer. Acceleration sensors at various points on the body and feet detect the speed of arm movements. This sensor information is evaluated in real time by a computing unit and can be visualized via the data goggles. It is also planned to make long-term and daily evaluations available.
Various fields of application conceivable
Thanks to the technical complexity of the cybersuit, there are many possible fields of application. The pure data goggles with gaze control were primarily developed for ALS patients to enable communication with relatives or caregivers. Combined with the sensor suit, supporting elderly people is another feasible option. After consulting a physician, a profile of the physical load can be stored in the cybersuit associated with the current state of training and health. The wearer’s networked sensors monitor the movements and vital signs in the background, permitting to trigger immediately warning messages in the event of excessive strain.
In the industrial sector, the cybersuit can particularly support wearers during heavy physical work. One example is to use the suit in steelworks, where workers wear a heat-proof suit while moving heavy objects. The vital and cognitive stress and activities of the workers are recorded in real time and any signs of physical overload are signalled to the wearer.
Sports may also become another field of application. The cybersuit offers many possibilities, especially for multi-sport athletes. In biathlon, for example, the athletes’ pulse could be permanently recorded and visualised via the data goggles parallel to the track surface. This would allow athletes to lower their pulse before the next shooting takes place. During shooting, the hit image and the resulting penalty rounds can be displayed immediately via the data goggles. During the competition, the athlete’s position is constantly displayed. After the competition, athlete and trainer may use evaluation options for optimising training sessions.
Cybersuit only made possible thanks to collaborative research projects
The development of the cybersuit is only possible thanks to the cooperation of various Saxon universities and companies. The data goggles with gaze control are being developed within the frame of the EyeLLis project, whereby the Department of Electrical Engineering is implementing the data goggles hardware. The Chair of Engineering Psychology and the Neurological University Hospital of the Technical University of Dresden are evaluating the use of data goggles with gaze control for ALS patients. Interactive Minds, a company from Dresden, is developing the application software for the interaction with gaze control.
The sensor suit is being developed by midasKMU, an internal junior research group within WHZ under the leadership of Prof. Torsten Merkel. The Institute of Textile and Leather Technology is working on the development of the fabric-based tactile sensor suit and the integration of sensors; the Physical Engineering Division is developing the biosensors and is responsible for their evaluation. The Department of Business Information Systems is responsible for preparing the measurement data in the context of the application. The AKS department (department of Applied Arts Schneeberg) is responsible for the product design of the data goggles. As an associated project partner, the Chair of Sports Equipment Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology is also involved with contributing sensors and evaluation units.
Exhibit will be presented at the Hanover Fair
The cybersuit will be presented by Rigo Herold, Professor of Digital Systems and his team at the Hannover Fair in Hall 2, booth A38 (“Research for the Future”).
Information and contact:
Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau | West Saxon University of Applied Sciences
Fakultät Elektrotechnik | Department of Electrical Engineering
Prof. Dr. Rigo Herold
+49 375 5361443