Systematic review of textile-based electrodes for long-term and continuous surface electromyography recording
Review article, 2020
This systematic review concerns the use of smart textiles enabled applications based on myoelectric activity. Electromyography (EMG) is the technique for recording and evaluating electric signals related to muscle activity (myoelectric). EMG is a well-established technique that provides a wealth of information for clinical diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Introducing sensor systems that allow for ubiquitous monitoring of health conditions using textile integrated solutions not only opens possibilities for ambulatory, long-term, and continuous health monitoring outside the hospital, but also for autonomous self-administration. Textile-based electrodes have demonstrated potential as a fully operational alternative to 'standard' Ag/AgCl electrodes for recording surface electromyography (sEMG) signals. As a substitute for Ag/AgCl electrodes fastened to the skin by taping or pre-gluing adhesive, textile-based electrodes have the advantages of being soft, flexible, and air permeable; thus, they have advantages in medicine and health monitoring, especially when self-administration, real-time, and long-term monitoring is required. Such advances have been achieved through various smart textile techniques; for instance, adding functions in textiles, including fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and various methods for incorporating functionality into textiles, such as knitting, weaving, embroidery, and coating. In this work, we reviewed articles from a textile perspective to provide an overview of sEMG applications enabled by smart textile strategies. The overview is based on a literature evaluation of 41 articles published in both peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings focusing on electrode materials, fabrication methods, construction, and sEMG applications. We introduce four textile integration levels to further describe the various textile electrode sEMG applications reported in the reviewed literature. We conclude with suggestions for future work along with recommendations for the reporting of essential benchmarking information in current and future textile electrode applications.