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Design Clothing with Built-In Sensors


Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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Have you ever worn a costume that lit up or played sound? Have you ever wished you had a suit of armor with built-in moving parts like a superhero? What if you could make your costume or suit react to your own movements or even other people who bump into you? The Science Buddies activity Weaving a Wearable Touch Sensor shows you how to make a capacitive sensor that responds to touch and can be woven directly into fabric (Figure 1). Can you design a piece of clothing that includes one or more of these sensors and use them to activate lights, speakers, or even motors built-in to the clothing? For example, can you make a piece of clothing that changes colors when you touch different parts of the fabric? How about a superhero-style utility belt that activates different features of a costume? What about an alarm that buzzes if someone tries to grab your bag? The possibilities are endless!

For many more wearable Arduino-compatible parts and additional sensors, check out the LilyPad product line from SparkFun Electronics or the FLORA line from Adafruit.

Completed woven sensor patch with LED.
Figure 1. A woven capacitive touch sensor and small wearable Arduino used to control an LED.

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Global Connections

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

This project explores topics key to Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Just as a potter forms clay, or a steel worker molds molten steel, electrical and electronics engineers gather and shape electricity and use it to make products that transmit power or transmit information. Electrical and electronics engineers may specialize in one of the millions of products that make or use electricity, like cell phones, electric motors, microwaves, medical instruments, airline navigation system, or handheld games. Read more

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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Finio, Ben. "Design Clothing with Built-In Sensors." Science Buddies, 14 Dec. 2022, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Elec_p096/electricity-electronics/wearable-built-in-sensors. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Finio, B. (2022, December 14). Design Clothing with Built-In Sensors. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Elec_p096/electricity-electronics/wearable-built-in-sensors

Last edit date: 2022-12-14
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