In recent years, connected objects have become part of everyday life and connected textiles are starting to be offered on the market. Other products, known as smart textiles, featuring sensors and embedded electronics modules have also developed, focusing on the professional market (military or security clothing) and the health and sports fields. As an example, Google with Levi's announced the marketing of a connected denim jacket in 2017. However, the reliability of smart textiles remains questionable in particular because of problems related to connectivity and the power supply of electronic modules.
Among different solutions, wireless communication can be considered to address the connectivity problem. The electronic modules form a Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) whose data can be collected by a smartphone. The latter can then be used as a gateway to transmit the collected data to the outside world (Internet). In order to limit the interaction of the waves with the human body and to improve the transmission balance, it is preferable to transmit the data along the body rather than through it. Another solution is to consider the guidance of surface waves on metallized or structured textiles inspired by research conducted on metamaterials.
The thesis topic is part of the theme of networks around the human body and smart textiles. It aims to design innovative structured textiles to improve data transmission by guiding surface waves between a sensor embedded in the textile and a smartphone. Different textile structures will be considered, inspired by the field of metamaterials such as artificial magnetic conductors (AMC) or metamaterials obtained by the interweaving of woven conductive threads, or by using the corrugation of a ground plane made in textiles. For compatibility with technologies available in current smartphones, data transmission will be considered in the Scientific and Medical Instrumental band (ISM) around 2.45 GHz.
The thesis will include a phase of simulations of the structures on commercial software (HFSS, CST), the manufacture of structured textiles, and finally their electromagnetic characterizations. For the latter, the candidate will have to develop a bench of characterizations of the guidance of surface waves while being based on work carried out at the University of Exeter.
This thesis work is part of the CONTEXT research project (2017-2020) funded by the French National Research Agency in which two other partners are involved: GEMTEX in Roubaix and LEAT in Nice. Within this framework, the structured textiles will be manufactured at GEMTEX, a laboratory easily accessible by public transport in the Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing metropolis. Finally, the candidate will also be asked to manufacture, if necessary, textile antennas resulting from the work of LEAT in the framework of the CONTEXT project.
Planned start of thesis: December 2017 - January 2018
Co-encadrant : Ludovic BURGNIES
Contact : Ludovic BURGNIES
03 20 19 79 03