Monitoring your brain with sensors made of conductive textiles

(19-01-2023) In his doctorate, Granch Berhe Tseghai investigated whether electrodes made from conductive textiles could be used monitoring the brain.

Classical electrodes use metal wires as conductive materials that are then pressed onto textiles. The disadvantage of metal is that it makes for stiff fabric. Electrodes are often used in health care to monitor the brain, for example in monitoring sleep quality and alertness, clinical applications, diagnosis and treatment of patients with epilepsy and other neurological disorders, and so on.

What is important here is that this is done as comfortably as possible for the patient. To improve/soften the wearing comfort of electrodes, researchers looked for electrically conductive textiles that would make electrodes much more flexible and thus more pleasant to wear for the patient.

"The main goal of my research was to investigate a washable and flexible textile-based electrode for monitoring brain activity," Granch says.

"The electrodes were made of an electrically conductive cotton fabric. The signal quality was found to be comparable to classical electrodes, opening the door for long-term monitoring via textile-based sensors," Granch explains.

"The electrode gives clear and reliable signals up to 15 wash cycles, 60 bend cycles, 10 hours of multiple use and 8 hours of continuous use."

"However, such electrodes made of cotton fabric only work in a hair-free area. For this reason, I developed a new electrode of hook fabric that also collects signals in hairy areas such as on the head," Granch concludes.

Read a more detailed summary or the entire PhD

PhD Title: Development of Dry EEG Textrodes for Brain Activity Monitoring


Granch Berhe Tsegha

 “I spent the whole of my childhood living in a community that frequently use the word ‘Doctor” and “Engineer’ to bless and applaud kids. In primary school, my teachers used to call me ‘Doctor’, although I had not much knowledge of what exactly doctors do. At that age, a ‘Doctor’ for me was, someone who examines the health of humans, so the medical doctor. Then in high school, one of my technical drawing teachers applauded me ‘you will be a great engineer’. I was fine with the applause but later it occurred to me that then I would not be a ‘doctor’. With this state of confusion, I joined a university and studied an engineering field. It was there I learned that the rank ‘Doctor’ is not given only to a medical doctor, but rather anyone who studied a Ph.D. is also called a Doctor”
“I applied for a Ph.D. supported by KU Leuven. I applied and was selected. However, later KU Leuven announced that my research area was much more relevant at UGent. So that’s how I ended up in Ghent”

Granch Berhe Tseghai was born in Wukro, Tigray, a state that is facing a genocidal war waged by Ethiopia and Eritrea and is under total siege by Ethiopia and Eritrea right now. He received his MSc degree in textile engineering from Bahir Dar University in 2014. Until 2017, he was a Lecturer at Wollo University..

In 2018, he started working as a doctoral researcher, Ph.D. student in materials engineering, at Ghent University in the department of materials, textiles and chemical engineering. During his Ph.D. tenure, Granch has attended over 15 international workshops and conferences.

As a Doctoral Researcher, he has been working on textile-based sensors in general, and EEG electrodes for brain activity monitoring in. He introduced hook fabric EEG electrodes and textile-based head phantom for the first time. In his Ph.D. research, he published over 20 research papers. Granch obtained his Ph.D. in materials engineering on September 28, 2022.

Contact: Granch Berhe TseghaiBenny Malengier, Lieva Van Langenhove


Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke