ProeTEX - PROtection E-TEXtiles: MicroNanoStructured Fibre Systems for Emergency-Disaster Wear (2006 - 2010)

logo proetex


The project ended (duration: February 2006 - July 2010).
PROeTex is a European project that develops wearable textile systems for rescue workers and firemen.
PROeTex stands for “PROtection E-TEXtiles: MicroNanoStructured Fibre Systems for Emergency-Disaster Wear”.

The developed items consist of:

a T-shirt with:     

  • a heartbeat sensor
  • a breathing sensor
  • a temperature sensor

 brandweerpak.jpg

Source: smartex for proetex

 

a jacket with:    

  • a temperature sensor
  • accelerometers to detect activity
  • a data processing unit (Personal Electronic Box)
  • textile antennas for communicating with the base
  • flexible batteries
  • an auditory or visual alarm

brandweerpak2

 

 

 

boots with:

  • gas sensor 
brandweerlaars1 brandweerlaars2
(Source: Diadora for Proetex)

 

The Integrated Project PROeTEX concentrates on the development of e-textiles to be used in wearable textile systems for emergency disaster intervention personnel and injured civilians. The international consortium joining forces in this project consists of 23 partners from 8 different countries resulting in a representation of the most important European textile regions i.e. Italy, France, Poland and Belgium.

The aim of the project is to develop textile-based systems which increase the safety and efficiency of personnel intervening at disasters such as fires, earthquakes, floods and terrorist attacks.

The emergency services which arrive at the disaster site in the first hours need to receive maximum protection. In the last decades the quality of the emergency disaster wear has improved considerably due to the application of e.g. high performance fibres. ProeTex, however, wants to bring emergency disaster wear to a higher level of protection by considerably increasing functionality. To do so, protective clothing should be considered from a more systemic point of view with components such as sensors, actuators, signal processing unit, energy supplies and communication systems integrated in the suit. This leads to a multifunctional suit which offers the following features:

  • continuous monitoring of body signals e.g. respiration and heart rate;
  • activity monitoring;
  • internal and external temperature monitoring;
  • chemical detection;
  • wireless communication between the garment to a base station;
  • energy supply.

Not all of these functions can be realized in one garment. For monitoring the vital signals, close contact with the skin is required, while other sensors need to collect data from the wearer’s environment. For this reason the suit consists of two parts: an inner and an outer garment. Also the shoes are part of the system. For the victims a patch is developed which can closely monitor the wearer’s health condition. A wearable communication system is provided to transfer the collected data.
The technological developments necessary to realize this garment emphasize on the development of e-textiles in the shape of fibres, although conventional microsystems will also be considered to reach the anticipated goal. 
The project is structured to produce three incremental sets of prototypes in the course of  its programme. In 2007 the project proceeded to completion of the first set of prototypes. The prototypes underwent a rigorous series of tests, from laboratory tests of the performance of individual sensors and components, to evaluations of the performance and usability in the field. This information was used as a basis for developing the second generation of ProeTex prototypes in 2008. 
This project combines the expertise of several important European research groups involved in intelligent textiles. Also, a considerable number of companies is involved. The developed prototype garments are tested by the end users contributing to the project (the Italian and French Civil Protection and the Paris Fire Brigade).
Ghent University contributes to several aspects of the project. Yarns and fabrics are coated with precious metals such as gold in order to improve the quality of the textile electrodes to be integrated into the inner garment. The communication between the outer garment and the environment is established by a textile antenna. Finally, the Department of Textiles is responsible for the training programme and the workshops, both internal and external, organized within the scope of the project.

Supported by: EU FP6 - IST

Contact: Prof. dr. ir. Lieva Van Langenhove