10029 – Machine Embroidery Enclosure for Stretchable Fiber Optic Sensor

  • Stretchable fiber optic stitched on a textile to be a part of an electronic wearable.


Stretchable fiber optic can be an important part of wearable electronics and robotics. They are more compatible with human body unlike glass and plastic fiber optic. However, there are challenges in implementing the fiber optic as part of the textile as the micro bending of the woven/knitted structure has less light transmittance and sensing capability.

Researchers at Cornell University have developed a programmable home embroidery machine (Brother PE700) along with a free graphic design software (InkScape) to create a soft, light, stretchable, cost-effective, machine-washable, stitch-based enclosure on a textile that has limited elasticity. The stretchable fiber optic sewed in a nylon thread will be connected to an LED and a photodiode at each end where the light intensity measured at the photodiode side will be high when the stretchable fiber optic is straight and free from any load of pressure or strain, and it will be low when the fiber optic is bent, pressed, or strained. A non-woven water-soluble stabilizer or a water-soluble thread was used to place the fiber optic within the enclosure. Water-soluble stabilizer layers leave a space between the embroidery and the elastic band for the fiber optic to move without restrictions which was later dissolved in water. Whereas the water-soluble thread was used along with water soluble stabilizer to stitch the textile and later were dissolved


Lightweight, low cost, stretchable by itself and allow stretchability to the fiber optic, semi see-through, easy to fabricate, free 2D form, thin, abrasion-resistant, soft and machine-washable.

Potential Applications

  • Embedded sensors in wearable electronics and robotics.
  • Can be used to understand the behavior of textile-based systems such as parachutes, tents, sails, air bags, or safety belt straps.

Contact Information

Name: Ryan Luebke

Email: rtl77@cornell.edu

Phone: 607-254-4483