Technical Embroidery for Smart Textiles: Review

Viktorija Mecnika, Melanie Hoerr, Ivars Krievins, Stefan Jockenhoevel, Thomas Gries


Traditionally embroidery is known as a conventional technique of textile decoration. Since the niche of technical textiles is rapidly expanding and is the main field of innovation and research in textile and apparel industry, embroidery is found in a variety of new functional applications due to the unique opportunity of creating three-dimensional light-weight structures and laying threads on the base material in all directions. As the field of smart textiles is vast per se and is associated with technical textiles and wearable technologies, the main applications of the embroidery may be described accordingly as ones for technical applications. In the sphere of medical textiles, embroidery is a relatively new technique, but is successfully used for wound-dressing development and innovative solutions for tissue engineering due to the opportunity of creating three-dimensional structures from fine polymer materials. Another advantageous characteristic of goods developed by embroidery is dimensional stability of manufactured textile structures. Due to these particularities embroidery is used widely also for such technical applications as development of heating grids, shielding, conductive interconnections, intelligent textile sensors and interfaces etc. Moreover, a large variety of materials and threads can be used in prototyping by the technique, e.g., conductive threads, metal wires, laminated polymer and carbon fibers.
One of the challenging sub-sectors of intelligent textiles and smart textiles for healthcare applications is the research and development of textile sensors for biometrics and measurement of physical parameters. Most of the mentioned biosensors are implemented by transferring the principles of conventional actuators to the textile structures.


Conductive yarns; embroidered sensors; e-textiles; medical textiles; smart textiles

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DOI: 10.7250/mstct.2014.009


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