In a study first published in 2011 by Sylvia Hou-Yan Cheng at Queens University’s Human Media Lab interactive e-textile shirts with touch-sensitive panels, an LED display and heart-rate monitors were used to determine participants’ comfort level when touched in various places by another participant. The study was conducted with the objective of discovering the best placement of touch sensors in interactive textiles in the future.
As explained in the video below, participants wore an e-textile shirt, equipped with twenty-four touch-sensitive patches and connected to a heart-rate monitor. Other participants touched each of these panels in turn, with the goal of finding a certain image on the LED screen embedded in the shirt, while the heart-rate monitor measured the comfort level of the participant being touched.
The research revealed that, while touch is universally soothing, the best placement for sensors would be the arms, shoulders and upper back. The study not only used innovative technology within the research, but also provides illuminating guidance for creating interactive clothing in the future.