Dr. Abigail Clarke-Sather

Dr. Abigail Clarke-Sather, Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota Duluth’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department, is working with Electrical Engineering undergraduate student (’23) Angela Martini on using stitched sensors to monitor human body comfort and function of garments in space. Conductive thread sewn onto a textile using a cover stitch machine like the edge sewn to make the bottom hem of a t-shirt. This simple, flexible wearable stitch sensor is being tested for applicability to measuring pressure on the body and breathing rate in space and during human spacewalk. This research is an extension of Dr. Clarke-Sather’s work with Mechanical Engineering graduate student (’20) Michael Weber on sensor enabled garments for children with autism [1] and for mothers and infants in the neonatal intensive care unit [2]. Ms. Martini is researching both signal drift in conductive thread stitched sensors due to material and electrical changes and the applicability and reliability of stitched sensors for measuring human vital signs in space.

[1] M. Weber et al., “Development of a Pressure Measuring Garment to Understand How to Quantify Compression,” in Proceedings of the 2020 Design of Medical Devices Conference, Minneapolis, MN, USA, Apr. 2020, p. forthcoming.

[2] M. Weber and A. R. Clarke-Sather, “Proof of Concept: Pressure Sensor for Tracking of Infant-Mother Kangaroo Care Durations,” in Proceedings of the 2019 Design of Medical Devices Conference, Minneapolis, MN, USA, Apr. 2019, p. # DMD2019-3311.