News Release

Clever clothes! Seams in clothing capture body movement

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Bristol

Fig 1


Figure 1: SeamSleeve is a novel sensing mechanism that uses powered seams as sensing channels, retaining traditional fabric design benefits for comfortable and robust motion capture. (a) we empirically evaluate and compare different designs to determine the optimal placement of seams and sensing channels; (b) we demonstrate that our approach can effectively train and classify arm movements; (c) we propose SeamSleeve for rehabilitation exercises beyond the clinic.

view more 

Credit: Olivia Ruston

Everyday clothing may soon be able to capture and record body movements according to new research published by the Universities of Bristol and Bath.

Harmless low voltages are passed through conductive threads which are stitched into garment seams to create electrical circuits. Their resistance changes with the movement of the wearer's body. The work opens up new possibilities to make digital clothing which senses and captures movements much more accurately than is possible using current phones and smart watches.

The paper, presented at the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference in Copenhagen today (3 July), lays the foundations for e-textile designers and clothing manufacturers to create cutting edge garments that could enhance exercise, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Professor Mike Fraser of the University of Bristol’s School of Computer Science commented: "We're excited by the opportunity for clothing manufacturers to implement our designs in sleeves and other garment seams.

“We've shown that common overlocked seams in standard garment constructions can do a good job of sensing movement. The design avoids the need for a separate power source by pairing the seam with a charging coil, drawing the energy wirelessly from a mobile phone placed in the pocket.

“This means advanced motion sensing garments could be made without altering existing manufacturing processes.

"We have also shown that smartphone apps using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques can use this movement data to match body movement to specific postures or gestures such as physiotherapeutic exercises."

The team have produced a short film for the conference illustrating how the technique works.



'SeamSleeve: Robust Arm Movement Sensing through Powered Stitching' by Olivia Ruston, Adwait Sharma and Mike Fraser in the Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems 2024, Copenhagen, Denmark.


SeamSleeve: Robust Arm Movement Sensing through Powered Stitching (

Credit: Olivia Ruston


Contact: Laura Thomas


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.