An interdisciplinary research team involving expertise from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Systems, the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, and the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials, is working towards the development of a ‘Smart Garment’.

Funded by the Global Challenges program the project is investigating the feasibility of incorporating antenna arrays within garments for localisation and tracking, health monitoring, as well as signalling the provenance of the garment.

The antenna array is envisaged to harvest energy from a probing signal and then send back the relevant information using this energy.

This information can be used to monitor and track the status and distribution of mining personnel for example, in locations where GPS or traditional location-based systems do not operate. In particular, and of critical importance to Australia, the radiation signature of a (unique) pattern of antennas incorporated into the fabric may be used to signal provenance.

“Unlike the existing methods, such as attaching a tag, the information is built into the pattern of yarns and counterfeiting is extremely difficult,” says Prof. Safaei.

This allows Australian producers to differentiate themselves from (cheap) imitations and tap into a socially and environmentally conscious market segment that is likely to show significant loyalty to the brand. 

“This project is a first for our team. We have done all the fundamental work and are now developing the prototype device.” Said Dr Foroughi.

Learn More about this work via the Bluey Merino project: "Farm to Lab": A story of innovation, traceability and werable technology. This joint projet has been funded through the NSW Tech-voucher program and Bluey Merino in partnership with the UOW Intelligent Polymer Research Instuute (IPRI), led by Dr. Javad Foroughi.

 

The UOW Team

Dr Javad Foroughi  an ARC Research Fellow, from the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, UOW. He is an expert in nanomaterials processing and characterisation, with particular emphasis on conducting polymers, CNT, graphene, wet-spinning fibre processing, composite manufacture, device assembly and their mechanical, electrical and electrochemical and spectroscopic characterisations. Dr Foroughi is currently developing CNT materials especially tailored for massive antenna arrays.

Professor Farzad Safaei from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences has extensive experience in the design and optimisation of network infrastructure, distributed systems, protocol modelling and performance evaluation, specifically for multiple-input multiple output (MIMO) wireless systems, antenna selection and co-operative communication.

Dr Raad Raad is part of the School of Electrical, Computer & Telecommunications Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Systems. He has expertise in sensor networks, RFID, medium access control protocols, delay tolerant networks, cellular systems and admission control. He also has an ongoing project for mining and smart wireless rock bolts.

Professor Philip Ogunbona is part of the School of Computing & Information Technology within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Systems.  He has expertise and research experience in pattern recognition and machine learning.  In this project he will contribute to the mining of appropriate wearable sensor data for the purpose of recognising human activities where such algorithms can be used to detect the state of a person underground.

Dr Teodor Mitew is a lecturer in the School of the Arts, English and Media within the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts.  He has expertise in digital and locative media, studies of technology and society, actor network theory and ambient socio-digital systems.  He contributes a humanities perspective to the project in terms of conceptualising the effects of pervasive and semantically-rich connectivity on human users.