For the development of textiles the properties of textile surfaces should be predicted exactly. Researchers of Empa, Dübendorf/Switzerland, in partnership with colleagues from the Université de Haute-Alsace in Mulhouse/France, have developed an analytic instrument made of optical sensor that objectively evaluates the tactile properties of textiles.
To enable the sensor to detect the tactile properties of a surface, the researchers took the human fingertip as a model: concentric grooves in the micrometer range cover the optical polymer fibers. If the fibers are subjected to mechanical stress when touching a textile surface, the intensity of their light transmission changes. The sensor would render surveys with test persons which are notoriously subjective.