A Sensing Textile Capable of Signaling Environmental Harm
Woven Water Filter is a research project initiated in 2016 by Felecia Davis at the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing at Penn State University’s College of Arts and Architecture. The objective of the project is to design and develop a textile wearable that uses special fibers to detect harmful bacteria and viruses in water and warn users by changing color, shape, or density. The fabric can also filter these harmful agents out of water to make it drinkable. The textile could be fashioned into any number of wearables such as a cloth backpack, scarf, or other clothing accessory. Critically, this research incorporates regional cultural practices and will adapt the nature and function of the wearable as necessary. Similarly, the properties of the yarn used and the coatings applied to it might vary depending on the harmful agents present in a specific region. The material would be linked to a mobile application which could then warn others in the surrounding area about potential threats to a water source. The potential impact of the project is especially powerful considering the structural environmental disparities faced by black communities and communities of color across the globe.