Smart Textiles for Monitoring Muscle Activity (STEX Project)

Project Title: “STEX - Smart textile for monitoring muscles activity”

Project Duration: 01/2019 – 06/2022

Project Description: The growing interest in the real-time monitoring of human health, physiological signals, and performance indicators during physical activity is driven by the desire to realize reliable and valuable quantitative measures in a convenient, inexpensive, and unobtrusive way. This is becoming possible thanks to the research into consumer solutions capable of realizing wearable unobtrusive sensors that can also be integrated into textiles. The demand for such innovative devices, in the context of improving sports performance and motorial re-education, has stimulated research in the smart textile and wearable sector to develop solutions capable of providing biofeedback and assessments of physical performance.

 In this context, the STEX project has the aim to monitor high-performance muscle activity in cycling training, using non-invasive and non-obtrusive sensors coupled with internet-of-things type connectivity for data acquisition, processing, and storing. The project´s objectives are based on the development and employment of wearable sensors capable of perceiving different parameters of the muscle activity and that can be correlated with the exercise intensity: the breathing rate, detected by wearable strain sensors placed around the chest, and the sweat ammonia, measured by using both electrolyte-gated field-effect transistor (EG-FET) based biosensors, and gas sensors in contact with the skin.

The activities that the Sensing Technologies Laboratories is carrying out within the STEX project are mainly related to the design and fabrication of printed wearable strain sensors able to monitor the respiratory rate and EG-FET and gas sensors for the ammonia detection in both gas and liquid phase. STEX is an interdisciplinary project with a strong collaboration between the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, the South-Tyrolean industrial partners (Microgate Srl, Pro Motus, TexMarket Srl,  Micron Photon Device), and  Università di Verona promoting innovation in the field of healthcare, sport, and the internet of things (IoT).


Publications related to the project:

  • B. Shkodra, M. Petrelli, M. A. Costa Angeli, D. Garoli, P. Lugli, and L. Petti, “Electrolyte-gated carbon nanotube field-effect transistor based biosensors: principles and applications”. Applied Physics Review 8, 041325 (Invited paper), 2021;
  • M. A. Costa Angeli, M. Madagalam, M. Petrelli, S. Pogliaghi, A. Scarton, P. Ibba, E. Avancini, F. Gori, R.Biasi, L. Petti and P. Lugli, “Assessing the role of textiles in the performance of wearable screen-printed strain sensors for respiratory rate monitoring”. IEEE Sensors Conference, Sydney (Australia), October-November, 2021,
  • M. Petrelli, B. Shkodra, M.A. Costa Angeli, A. Scarton, S. Pogliaghi, R. Biasi, P. Lugli and L. Petti, "Novel Gate Electrode Design for Flexible Planar Electrolyte-Gated Field-Effect Transistor-Based Sensors for Real-Time Ammonium Detection," 2022 IEEE Sensors, 2022, pp. 1-4, (doi: 10.1109/SENSORS52175.2022.9967221)
  • M. Petrelli, B. Shkodra, M.A. Costa Angeli, A. Scarton, S. Pogliaghi, R. Biasi, P. Lugli and L. Petti, "Flexible, planar, and stable electrolyte-gated carbon nanotube field-effect transistor-based sensor for ammonium detection in sweat," 2022 IEEE International Flexible Electronics Technology Conference (IFETC), 2022, pp. 1-2, (doi: 10.1109/IFETC53656.2022.9948472).

Principal Investigator: Prof. Paolo Lugli

Project Collaborators:
Dr. Federico Gori, Dr. Alessandra Scarton
Microgate Srl, Bolzano, Italy

Funding Agency: EFRE FESR 2014-2020

Project website: For more information and recent update, please visit the official website of  STEX

Contact person: Dr. Martina Costa Angeli