jessica smarsch introduces ‘connextyle’, a rehabilitation garment designed for measuring muscle activity. the clothing piece uses a new technology called TexPCBs, which is a silver-coated textile laminated between thermoplastic material, in order to create dry electrodes and measure muscle movement. the data is collected by the TexPCBs and is then sent to a processing module, which also registers movement, and is attached to the garments’ exterior. the design is inspired by the need for data feedback in rehabilitation, and an empathetic approach to wearable technologies

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the design of the connextyle TexPCBs are specific for the needs of rehabilitation, collecting & transmitting muscle activity
all images by lisa klappe



while the concept is applicable for many kinds of rehabilitation, jessica smarsch originally designed the shirt for stroke patients who have lost full use of the upper body. with connextyle, body data feedback is made available, and therapists can better tailor their patient’s programs. at the same time, patients can gain better knowledge on the quality and progression of their exercises. the connextyle shirt is used along with an app that delivers visual feedback to patients in the form of creative pattern making, which helps to further stimulate the connection of new neural pathways. it also generates reports to let the patients understand how they have improved.

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the interior of the connextyle techstyle sleeve uses TexPCB technology



the design of the connextyle shirt is separated into a technical sleeve layer and a non-technical outer layer. the garment is designed to be comfortable and stylish so that patients can wear it throughout the day. they can practice their exercises as frequently as possible while also feeling confident about their appearance. the seams of the sleeves wrap around the arm, following the lines of the muscles, which ensures that the sensors can be laminated in the correct positions without seam interference. both the sleeves and outer layer are custom knit. the sleeve area is made of a combination of a biodegradable yarn with a high-stretch core wrapped in polyamide and a silver-polyamide fiber, used for its antibacterial properties. the outer layer is knit in cotton.

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connextyle’s two-layered design separates the technical sleeves from its accompanying cotton shirt



a second concept design was created using a transparent yarn where the TexPCBs are to be laminated. further development of the transparent yarn would be required to achieve functionality with such a design, as the current transparent yarn has no stretch, and the connection of the textile to the skin is important. this concept was materialized as a way to reveal the technology of the sensors in such a way that the aesthetic of the functionality is more visible. it is a potential next step in future design iterations.



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connextyle works from the inside-out with sensors laminated inside the sleeves

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the processing module wirelessly transmits the collected data via bluetooth

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connextyle is inspired by the need for data feedback in rehabilitation, and an empathetic approach to wearable technologies

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the garment is ergonomically designed, with seams that follow the paths of the muscles

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a small processing module collects data from the muscles and registers movement

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the snap design of the module clip allows easy removal for recharging the module and washing the sleeves

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connextyle’s future concept incorporates transparent yarns to reveal the aesthetics of the TexPCB technology



project info:


name: connextyle: techstyle for rehabilitation
designer: jessica smarsch
collaborators: christian dils (fraunhofer IZM), paula de andrés (POL studio), gaia liesdek (knitwear lab)



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom