(19)
(11)EP 3 725 218 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 18888755.8

(22)Date of filing:  29.11.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 5/0408(2006.01)
B60N 2/90(2018.01)
A61B 5/11(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/044077
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/116919 (20.06.2019 Gazette  2019/25)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 15.12.2017 JP 2017241148

(71)Applicant: Alps Alpine Co., Ltd.
Ota-ku Tokyo 145-8501 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • SATO, Tadamitsu
    Tokyo 145-8501 (JP)
  • KUNZMANN, Sascha
    86987 Schwabsoien (DE)
  • GHOSHDASTIDER, Unmesh
    81247 Munchen (DE)
  • OEHLER, Martin
    38108 Braunschweig (DE)

(74)Representative: Schmitt-Nilson Schraud Waibel Wohlfrom Patentanwälte Partnerschaft mbB 
Pelkovenstraße 143
80992 München
80992 München (DE)

  


(54)SENSOR DEVICE, PRODUCTION METHOD THEREFOR, AND VEHICLE SEAT


(57) A sensor device has an insulative non-woven fabric and a conductive fabric forming an electrode. The conductive fabric is joined to one surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.




Description

Technical Field



[0001] One aspect of the present disclosure relates to a sensor device, a manufacturing method thereof, and a vehicle seat equipped with a sensor device.

Background Art



[0002] A device is known that contactlessly detects a motion or electric phenomenon of a live body by using an electrode disposed near the live body. In PTL 1, for example, an electrode device is described that is disposed at a vehicle seat or the like and performs electrocardiogram measurement.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0003] PTL 1: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2013-188277

Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0004] In the electrode device described in PTL 1, an electrode and insulating body are formed from a woven fabric or knitted fabric having stretchability and air permeability to suppress a feeling of discomfort in touch and a feeling of stuffiness in a case in which the electrode device is used at a vehicle seat or the like.

[0005] However, when the insulating body is formed from a woven fabric or knitted fabric, if a ravel occurs in part of the fabric, the ravel easily expand to the periphery thereof. Since the insulation property decreases at the raveled portion, there is the possibility that a problem occurs in detection performance.

[0006] Accordingly, an object of one aspect of the present disclosure is to provide a sensor device that can suppress a decrease in an insulation property for electrodes while maintaining air permeability and flexibility, a method of manufacturing the sensor device, and a vehicle seat using such sensor devices.

Solution to Problem



[0007] According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a sensor device that has an insulative non-woven fabric and a conductive fabric forming an electrode is provided. The conductive fabric is joined to one surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0008] According to one aspect of the present disclosure, it is possible to provide a sensor device that can suppress a decrease in an insulation property for electrodes while maintaining air permeability and flexibility, a method of manufacturing the sensor device, and a vehicle seat using such sensor devices.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0009] 

[Fig. 1] Fig. 1 is a drawing indicating an example of a vehicle seat equipped with sensor devices according to the embodiment.

[Fig. 2] Fig. 2 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device according to a first embodiment.

[Fig. 3A] Fig. 3A is a drawing used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 2.

[Fig. 3B] Fig. 3B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 2.

[Fig. 3C] Fig. 3C is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 2.

[Fig. 4A] Fig. 4A is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 2.

[Fig. 4B] Fig. 4B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 2.

[Fig. 5] Fig. 5 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device according to a second embodiment.

[Fig. 6A] Fig. 6A is a drawing used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 6B] Fig. 6B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 6C] Fig. 6C is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 7A] Fig. 7A is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 7B] Fig. 7B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 7C] Fig. 7C is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 8A] Fig. 8A is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 8B] Fig. 8B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 5.

[Fig. 9] Fig. 9 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device according to a third embodiment.

[Fig. 10A] Fig. 10A is a drawing used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 10B] Fig. 10B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 10C] Fig. 10C is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 11A] Fig. 11A is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 11B] Fig. 11B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 11C] Fig. 11C is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 12A] Fig. 12A is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 12B] Fig. 12B is a drawing used to describe the example of the method of manufacturing the sensor device indicated in Fig. 9.

[Fig. 13A] Fig. 13A is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device according to a fourth embodiment.

[Fig. 13B] Fig. 13B is a drawing indicating the sensor device indicated in Fig. 13A, in a state in which the electrode cover is not illustrated.

[Fig. 14] Fig. 14 is a drawing indicating one variation of a sensor device.


Description of Embodiments



[0010] Embodiments of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.

[0011] Fig. 1 is a drawing indicating an example of a vehicle seat 1 equipped with sensor devices 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention. In the example in Fig. 1, the vehicle seat 1 has a backrest portion 1A and a seat portion 1B. A plurality of sensor devices 2 are disposed inside the surface of each of the backrest portion 1A and seat portion 1B. The vehicle seat 1 may have a function for blowing air to be used for temperature adjustment from, for example, the surface of the backrest portion 1A or seat portion 1B. In this case, since the sensor device 2 according to this embodiment has air permeability, the sensor device 2 does not hinder a flow of air. Therefore, the sensor devices 2 can be disposed at appropriate positions in the backrest portion 1A and seat portion 1B without affecting the temperature adjustment function, so the sensor device 2 can detect information about a live body (such as a change in the motion of the body and an electric signal generated by the live body) with good sensitivity.

[0012] The sensor device 2 may have an electrode cover that faces the outside of the vehicle seat 1 and is made of a non-woven fabric having a color similar to the color of the outer surface of the vehicle seat 1, as will be described later. Since this electrode cover covers the electrodes (conductive fabrics), it is possible to prevent the electrodes (conductive fabrics) from being noticeable from the outside.

[0013] Sensor devices according to embodiments of the present invention will be described below.

<First embodiment>



[0014] Fig. 2 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device 2A according to a first embodiment, indicating an example of the outside shape of the sensor device 2A when viewed from directions toward the front, side, and back. The sensor device 2A indicated in Fig. 2 has conductive fabrics 21 and 22 forming electrodes, an insulative non-woven fabric 31, and a substrate 10.

[0015] Examples of the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 include a fabric that is formed from chemical fibers such as polyester fibers, the surface of which is coated with a metal (conductor) such as copper or nickel, and a fabric that is formed from a fabric material including a conductive material (such as carbon). Incidentally, conductive fabrics 23 to 27 in embodiments described later are also formed from a material similar to the material for the conductive fabrics 21 and 22.

[0016] The non-woven fabric 31 is a sheet-like member with insulative fibers intertwined and spread like a plane. The non-woven fabric 31 is formed from, for example, synthetic fibers such as polyester fibers or polyimide fibers or inorganic fibers such as glass fibers. Incidentally, non-woven fabrics 33 to 37 in embodiments described later are also formed from materials similar to the material for the non-woven fabric 31.

[0017] The two conductive fabrics 21 and 22 face each other with the non-woven fabric 31 located in between. The conductive fabric 21 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 31 on the front side, and the conductive fabric 22 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 31 on the back side. The joining of the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 to the non-woven fabric 31 is performed by, for example, fusion or seaming. Joining by fusion is performed by, for example, applying heat or vibration to a place of joining or illuminating the place with a laser beam, in a state in which the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 and non-woven fabric 31 are overlaid on each other. Also, joining by seaming is performed by sewing both by using an insulative thread such as, for example, a synthetic fiber.

[0018] In Fig. 2, "P1" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 21 and the non-woven fabric 31, and "P2" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 22 and the non-woven fabric 31. As indicated in Fig. 2, there is a displacement in a plan view of the sensor device 2A between the joining place P1, where the conductive fabric 21 is joined to the non-woven fabric 31, and the joining place P2, where the conductive fabric 22 is joined to the non-woven fabric 31. That is, the joining place P1 and joining place P2 are not overlaid on each other.

[0019] As indicated in Fig. 2, most of the overlaid portion between the conductive fabric 21 and the conductive fabric 22 is included inside the outer edges of the conductive fabric 22 in a plan view of the sensor device 2A. That is, the conductive fabric 21 as a whole is smaller than the conductive fabric 22, and most of the conductive fabric 21 is included in the area of the conductive fabric 22 in a plan view. The joining place P2 between the conductive fabric 22 and the non-woven fabric 31 partially encloses the circumference of the conductive fabric 21 in a plan view.

[0020] Also, as illustrated in Fig. 2, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 21 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 22 are separated from each other with part of at least one surface (surface on the front side or surface on the back side) of the non-woven fabric 31 interposed, in a plan view of the sensor device 2A. That is, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 21 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 22 are distant from each other in a direction along the surface of the non-woven fabric 31.

[0021] The substrate 10 includes an electronic circuit connected to the two conductive fabrics 21 and 22. This electronic circuit includes an amplifier circuit and the like. The amplifier circuit uses one electrode (conductive fabric 21, for example) as a detection electrode and amplifies an electric signal entered due to capacitive coupling between the detection electrode and a live body. In this case, the other electrode (conductive fabric 22, for example) functions as a shield electrode controlled so as, for example, to have the same potential as the detection electrode. Alternatively, the electronic circuit of the substrate 10 may be a circuit that detects a change in capacitance (mutual capacitance) formed by the two electrodes (conductive fabrics 21 and 22). In this case, the electronic circuit detects a minute motion, of the live body, corresponding to the change in capacitance. The conductive fabrics 21 and 22 are connected to wiring patterns on the substrate 10 by, for example, soldering.

[0022] Fig. 3A to Fig. 3C and Fig. 4A and Fig. 4B are drawings used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device 2A indicated in Fig. 2.

[0023] Fig. 3A indicates a state in which nothing is attached to the non-woven fabric 31. In this state in Fig. 3A, the conductive fabric 21 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 31 on the front side as indicated in Fig. 3B, and the non-woven fabric 31 and conductive fabric 21 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 3C.

[0024] After that, the conductive fabric 22 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 31 on the back side as indicated in Fig. 4A, and the non-woven fabric 31 and conductive fabric 22 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 4B. At this time, as the joining place P2 between the non-woven fabric 31 and the conductive fabric 22, a place is selected where the place does not overlay the joining place P1 between the non-woven fabric 31 and the conductive fabric 21 and where the conductive fabric 21 is not located.

[0025] As described above, according to the sensor device 2A in this embodiment, electrodes are formed by the conductive fabrics 21 and 22, and the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 are joined to the surfaces of the insulative non-woven fabric 31 on the front side and back side, one on each surface. Therefore, air permeability and flexibility can be assured. Also, the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 and the non-woven fabric 31 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming, making it difficult for air permeability or flexibility to be impaired. Furthermore, since the non-woven fabric 31 does not easily cause a ravel as in a woven fabric and knitted fabric, it is possible to effectively suppress a decrease in the insulation property of the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 forming electrodes. In addition, since the porosity (density of clearances) of the non-woven fabric 31 is easily adjusted when compared with woven work and knitted work, a tradeoff between air permeability and the insulation property can be appropriately set depending on the use situation or the like.

[0026] According to the sensor device 2A in this embodiment, there is a displacement in a plan view of the sensor device 2A between the joining place P1, where the conductive fabric 21 is joined to the non-woven fabric 31, and the joining place P2, where the conductive fabric 22 is joined to the non-woven fabric 31. Therefore, the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 can be stably insulated from each other.

[0027] According to the sensor device 2A in this embodiment, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 21 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 22 are distant from each other in a direction along a surface (surface on the front side or surface on the back side) of the non-woven fabric 31. Therefore, the conductive fabrics 21 and 22 can be more stably insulated from each other.

<Second embodiment>



[0028] Fig. 5 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device 2B according to a second embodiment. The sensor device 2B indicated in Fig. 5 has conductive fabrics 23 and 24 forming electrodes, insulative non-woven fabrics 33 and 34, and the substrate 10. The substrate 10 in the sensor device 2B is the same as the substrate 10 in the sensor device 2A already described. This is also true for the substrate 10 in sensor devices 2C and 2D described later. Differences from the sensor device 2A already described will be mainly described below.

[0029] The two conductive fabrics 23 and 24 face each other with the overlaid non-woven fabrics 33 and 34 located in between. The conductive fabric 23 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 33 on the front side, and the conductive fabric 24 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 34 on the back side. In Fig. 5, "P3" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 23 and the non-woven fabric 33, and "P4" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 24 and the non-woven fabric 34. In the example in Fig. 5, there is a displacement in a plan view of the sensor device 2B between the joining place P3, where the conductive fabric 23 is joined to the non-woven fabric 33, and the joining place P4, where the conductive fabric 24 is joined to the non-woven fabric 34. That is, the joining place P3 and joining place P4 are not overlaid on each other.

[0030] The surface of the non-woven fabric 33 on the back side is overlaid on the surface of the non-woven fabric 34 on the front side. In Fig. 5, "Q1" indicates a place of joining between the non-woven fabric 33 and the non-woven fabric 34. As indicated in Fig. 5, the joining place Q1 between the non-woven fabric 33 to which the conductive fabric 23 is joined and the non-woven fabric 34 to which the conductive fabric 24 is joined is positioned outside the areas of the conductive fabrics 23 and 24 in a plan view of the sensor device 2B.

[0031] Incidentally, joining between the conductive fabric (23 or 24) and the non-woven fabric (33 or 34) and joining between the non-woven fabrics (33 and 34) are performed by fusion or seaming as with the sensor device 2A already described.

[0032] As illustrated in Fig. 5, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 23 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 24 are separated from each other with part of at least one surface of the non-woven fabrics 33 and 34 (surface of the non-woven fabric 33 on the front side or surface of the non-woven fabric 34 on the back side) interposed, in a plan view of the sensor device 2B. That is, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 23 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 24 are distant from each other in a direction along the surfaces of the non-woven fabrics 33 and 34.

[0033] Fig. 6A to Fig. 6C, Fig. 7A to Fig. 7C, and Fig. 8A and Fig. 8B are drawings used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device 2B indicated in Fig. 5.

[0034] Fig. 6A indicates a state in which nothing is attached to the non-woven fabric 33. In this state in Fig. 6A, the conductive fabric 23 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 33 on the front side as indicated in Fig. 6B, and the non-woven fabric 33 and conductive fabric 23 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 6C.

[0035] Also, Fig. 7A indicates a state in which nothing is attached to the non-woven fabric 34. In this state in Fig. 7A, the conductive fabric 24 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 34 on the back side as indicated in Fig. 7B, and the non-woven fabric 34 and conductive fabric 24 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 7C.

[0036] After that, the surface on the back side of the non-woven fabric 33 in the state indicated in Fig. 6C and the surface on the front side of the non-woven fabric 34 in the state indicated in Fig. 7C are overlaid on each other as indicated in Fig. 8A. When the non-woven fabric 33 and non-woven fabric 34 are placed in the overlaid state as indicated in Fig. 8A, the two conductive fabrics 23 and 24 face each other with the non-woven fabrics 33 and 34 located in between. The non-woven fabrics 33 and 34 placed in the overlaid state are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 8B. At this time, the non-woven fabrics 33 and 34 are joined together at positions outside the areas of the two conductive fabrics 23 and 24 in a plan view of the sensor device 2B.

[0037] As described above, according to the sensor device 2B in this embodiment, the two opposing conductive fabrics 23 and 24 are separated from each other by the overlaid non-woven fabrics 33 and 34. Therefore, the two conductive fabrics 23 and 24 can be stably insulated from each other.

[0038] According to the sensor device 2B in this embodiment, the non-woven fabric 33 to which the conductive fabric 23 on one side is joined and the non-woven fabric 34 to which the conductive fabric 24 on the other side is joined are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming. Manufacturing processes can be simplified by joining the non-woven fabrics (33 and 34) together by a means similar to the means of joining the conductive fabric (23 or 24) and the non-woven fabric (33 or 34) together.

[0039] According to the sensor device 2B in this embodiment, the non-woven fabric 33 to which the conductive fabric 23 is joined and the non-woven fabric 34 to which the conductive fabric 24 is joined are joined together outside the areas of the conductive fabrics 23 and 24 in a plan view of the sensor device 2B. Therefore, the conductive fabrics 23 and 24 can be stably insulated from each other.

[0040] According to the sensor device 2B in this embodiment, there is a displacement between the joining place P3, where the conductive fabric 23 is joined to the non-woven fabric 33, and the joining place P4, where the conductive fabric 24 is joined to the non-woven fabric 34. Therefore, the conductive fabrics 23 and 24 can be stably insulated from each other.

[0041] According to the sensor device 2B in this embodiment, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 23 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 24 are distant from each other in a direction along the surface of the non-woven fabric 33 on the front side and the surface of the non-woven fabric 34 on the back side. Therefore, the conductive fabrics 23 and 24 can be stably insulated from each other.

[0042] The structure, other than the above, of the sensor device 2B according to this embodiment is similar to the structure of the sensor device 2A already described, and the sensor device 2B has an effect similar to the effect of the sensor device 2A.

<Third embodiment>



[0043] Fig. 9 is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device 2C according to a third embodiment. The sensor device 2C indicated in Fig. 9 has conductive fabrics 25 and 26 forming electrodes, insulative non-woven fabrics 35 and 36, and the substrate 10. Differences from the sensor devices 2A and 2B already described will be mainly described below.

[0044] As indicated in Fig. 9, the two conductive fabrics 25 and 26 face each other with the non-woven fabric 35 located in between, and the two non-woven fabrics 35 and 36 face each other. The conductive fabric 25 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 35 on the front side, and the conductive fabric 26 is joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 36 on the front side. In Fig. 9, "P5" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 25 and the non-woven fabric 35, and "P6" indicates a place of joining between the conductive fabric 26 and the non-woven fabric 36. In the example in Fig. 9, there is a displacement in a plan view of the sensor device 2C between the joining place P5, where the conductive fabric 25 is joined to the non-woven fabric 35, and the joining place P6, where the conductive fabric 26 is joined to the non-woven fabric 36. That is, the joining place P5 and joining place P6 are not overlaid on each other.

[0045] The surface of the non-woven fabric 35 on the back side is overlaid on the surface of the non-woven fabric 36 on the front side, the conductive fabric 26 being joined to the surface of the non-woven fabric 36 on the front side. In Fig. 9, "Q2" indicates a place of joining between the non-woven fabric 35 and the non-woven fabric 36. As indicated in Fig. 9, the joining place Q2 between the non-woven fabric 35 to which the conductive fabric 25 is joined and the non-woven fabric 36 to which the conductive fabric 26 is joined is positioned outside the areas of the conductive fabrics 25 and 26 in a plan view of the sensor device 2C.

[0046] Incidentally, joining between the conductive fabric (25 or 26) and the non-woven fabric (35 or 36) and joining between the non-woven fabrics (35 and 36) are performed by fusion or seaming as with the sensor devices 2A and 2B already described.

[0047] As indicated in Fig. 9, the conductive fabrics 25 and 26 as a whole are smaller than the non-woven fabric 35 in a plan view of the sensor device 2C, and most of the conductive fabrics 25 and 26 are included in the area of the non-woven fabric 35 in a plan view. Also, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 25 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 26 are separated from each other with part of at least one surface (surface on the front side or surface on the back side) of the non-woven fabric 35 interposed, in a plan view of the sensor device 2C. That is, the outer edges of the conductive fabric 25 and the outer edges of the conductive fabric 26 are distant from each other in a direction along the surface of the non-woven fabric 35.

[0048] Fig. 10A to Fig. 10C, Fig. 11A to Fig. 11C, and Fig. 12A and Fig. 12B are drawings used to describe an example of a method of manufacturing the sensor device 2C indicated in Fig. 9.

[0049] Fig. 10A indicates a state in which nothing is attached to the non-woven fabric 35. In this state in Fig. 10A, the conductive fabric 25 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 35 on the front side as indicated in Fig. 10B, and the non-woven fabric 35 and conductive fabric 25 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 10C.

[0050] Also, Fig. 11A indicates a state in which nothing is attached to the non-woven fabric 36. In this state in Fig. 11A, the conductive fabric 26 is disposed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 36 on the front side as indicated in Fig. 11B, and the non-woven fabric 36 and conductive fabric 26 are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 11C.

[0051] After that, the surface on the back side of the non-woven fabric 35 in the state indicated in Fig. 10C, and the surface on the front side of the non-woven fabric 36 in the state indicated in Fig. 11C are overlaid on each other as indicated in Fig. 12A. When the non-woven fabric 35 and non-woven fabric 36 are placed in the overlaid state as indicated in Fig. 12A, the two conductive fabrics 25 and 26 face each other with the non-woven fabric 35 located in between. Also, the conductive fabric 26 is in a state in which both surfaces of the conductive fabric 26 are covered by the two non-woven fabrics 35 and 36. The non-woven fabrics 35 and 36 placed in the overlaid state are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming as indicated in Fig. 12B. At this time, the non-woven fabrics 35 and 36 are joined together at positions outside the areas of the two conductive fabrics 25 and 26 in a plan view of the sensor device 2C.

[0052] As described above, according to the sensor device 2C in this embodiment, the two opposing conductive fabrics 25 and 26 are separated from each other by the non-woven fabric 35. Therefore, the two conductive fabrics 25 and 26 can be stably insulated from each other. Also, since the conductive fabric 26 is interposed between the two non-woven fabrics 35 and 36, the insulation property for the conductive fabric 26 can be enhanced.

[0053] The structure, other than the above, of the sensor device 2C according to this embodiment is similar to the structures of the sensor devices 2A and 2B already described, and the sensor device 2C has an effect similar to the effect of the sensor devices 2A and 2B.

<Fourth embodiment>



[0054] Fig. 13A is a drawing indicating an example of a sensor device 2D according to a fourth embodiment. Fig. 13B is a drawing indicating the sensor device 2D indicated in Fig. 13A, in a state in which an electrode cover 41 is not illustrated. In the sensor device 2D, the surface, of the conductive fabric 25, exposed to the outside in the already-described sensor device 2C indicated in Fig. 9 (the surface is opposite to the surface in contact with the non-woven fabric 35) is covered with the insulative electrode cover 41. The other structure is almost the same as in the sensor device 2C indicated in Fig. 9. In the sensor device 2D, however, the non-woven fabric 36 in the sensor device 2C is replaced with a non-woven fabric 36A, which is slightly larger in size than the non-woven fabric 36.

[0055] The electrode cover 41 is formed from an insulative non-woven fabric and is joined to the non-woven fabric 36A by fusion or seaming. "Q3" in Fig. 13A indicates a place where the electrode cover 41 and non-woven fabric 36A are joined together. As indicated in Fig. 13A, the joining place Q3 between the electrode cover 41 and the non-woven fabric 36A is positioned outside the areas of the conductive fabric 25 and conductive fabric 26.

[0056] Since, in the sensor device 2D according to this embodiment, the surface, exposed to the outside, of the conductive fabric 25 is covered with the electrode cover 41 formed from an insulative non-woven fabric as described above, the insulation property for the conductive fabric 25 can be enhanced. Also, manufacturing processes can be simplified by joining the non-woven fabric 36A and electrode cover 41 together by a means similar to the means of joining the conductive fabric (25 or 26) and the non-woven fabric (35 or 36A).

[0057] Incidentally, when the sensor device 2D is disposed inside the vehicle seat 1 (Fig. 1), the sensor device 2D may be disposed so that the electrode cover 41 faces the outside of the vehicle seat 1 and the electrode cover 41 may have the same color as the outer surface of the vehicle seat 1. Thus, since the conductive fabric 25 is covered with the electrode cover 41 that faces the outside of the vehicle seat 1 and that has the same color as the outer surface of the vehicle seat 1, it is possible to make the conductive fabric 25 less likely to be noticeable from the outside and to make the electrode cover 41 itself less likely to be noticeable.

[0058] So far, sensor devices according to embodiments of the present invention have been described. However, the present invention is not limited only to the embodiments described above but various variations and modifications are possible without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0059] Fig. 14 is a drawing indicating a variation of a sensor device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0060] A sensor device 2E indicated in Fig. 14 has an insulative non-woven fabric 37 and a plurality of conductive fabrics 27A to 27F joined to one surface of the non-woven fabric 37 by fusion or seaming. On the surface of the non-woven fabric 37, to which the conductive fabrics 27A to 27D are joined, wiring patterns 51A to 51F electrically continuous to the conductive fabrics 27A to 27D are formed in advance. The wiring patterns 51A to 51F are formed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 37 by, for example, a film forming method such as sputtering. By making the conductive fabrics 27A to 27D and the wiring patterns 51A to 51F formed on the surface of the non-woven fabric 37 in advance electrically continuous to each other in this way, it is unnecessary to connect these conductive fabrics to other wires such as electronic circuits by using connectors. Therefore, assembling processes can be simplified and the number of parts can be reduced. Also, since positions at which to dispose the conductive fabrics 27A to 27D on the surface of the non-woven fabric 37 are clear, work to position the conductive fabrics 27A to 27D is easy and the efficiency of manufacturing can be improved.

[0061] Although, in Fig. 1, an example in which sensor devices 2 are disposed inside the vehicle seat 1 is indicated, the present invention is not limited to this. In another example of the present invention, sensor devices 2 may be disposed, for example, inside the lining (interior cover) of a vehicle. In this case, by using an electrode cover that faces the outer surface side of the lining and has the same color as the outer surface of the lining, it is possible to make the conductive fabric covered with the electrode cover and the electrode cover itself less likely to be noticeable from the outside.

[0062] In the first to fourth embodiments described above, an example is taken in which one conductive fabric is attached to each of the front side and back side of a non-woven fabric. However, the number of conductive fabrics attached to each surface of the non-woven fabric may be plural. Also, the number of conductive fabrics on the front side of the non-woven fabric and the number of conductive fabrics on the back side may be the same or may be different.

[0063] The shapes and sizes of the conductive fabrics and non-woven fabrics and their positional relationships taken as examples in the first to fourth embodiments described above are merely examples, and may be appropriately changed.

[0064] This application claims priority based on Japanese Patent Application No. 2017-241148 filed on December 15, 2017, and the entire contents of the Japanese Patent application are incorporated in this application by reference.

Reference Sings List



[0065] 
1
vehicle seat
1A
backrest portion
1B
seat portion
2, 2A to 2E
sensor device
10
substrate
21 to 26, 27A to 27F
conductive fabric
31, 33 to 37
non-woven fabric
41
electrode cover
51A to 51F
wiring pattern
P1 to P6, Q1 to Q3
joining place



Claims

1. A sensor device comprising:

a conductive fabric forming an electrode; and

an insulative non-woven fabric, wherein

the conductive fabric is joined to one surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.


 
2. The sensor device according to Claim 1, further comprising a second conductive fabric facing the conductive fabric, which is a first conductive fabric, with the insulative non-woven fabric located in between, wherein
the first conductive fabric is joined to the one surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming, and
the second conductive fabric is joined to another surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.
 
3. The sensor device according to Claim 1, further comprising:

a second non-woven fabric overlaid on the non-woven fabric, which is a first non-woven fabric; and

a second conductive fabric facing the conductive fabric, which is a first conductive fabric, with the first non-woven fabric and the second non-woven fabric located in between, wherein

the first conductive fabric is joined to the one surface of the first non-woven fabric adjacent to the first conductive fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming, and

the second conductive fabric is joined to one surface of the second non-woven fabric adjacent to the second conductive fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.


 
4. The sensor device according to Claim 1, further comprising:

a second non-woven fabric facing the non-woven fabric, which is a first non-woven fabric; and

a second conductive fabric facing the conductive fabric, which is the first conductive fabric, with the first non-woven fabric located in between, wherein

the first conductive fabric is joined to the one surface of the first non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming, and

the second conductive fabric is joined to one surface of the second non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming.


 
5. The sensor device according to Claim 3 or 4, wherein the first non-woven fabric to which the first conductive fabric is joined and the second non-woven fabric to which the second conductive fabric is joined are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming.
 
6. The sensor device according to Claim 5, wherein a joining place between the first non-woven fabric to which the first conductive fabric is joined and the second non-woven fabric to which the second conductive fabric is joined is positioned outside areas of the first and second conductive fabrics in a plan view of the sensor device.
 
7. The sensor device according to any one of Claims 2 to 6, wherein there is a displacement in a plan view of the sensor device between a place where the first conductive fabric is joined to the non-woven fabric and a place where the second conductive fabric is joined to the non-woven fabric.
 
8. The sensor device according to any one of Claims 2 to 7, wherein an outer edge of the first conductive fabric and an outer edge of the second conductive fabric are distant from each other in a direction along the one surface of the non-woven fabric.
 
9. The sensor device according to any one of Claims 1 to 8, wherein, on the one surface of the non-woven fabric, a wiring pattern electrically continuous to the conductive fabric joined to the one surface is formed.
 
10. The sensor device according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, further comprising an electrode cover that covers an opposite surface to a surface of the conductive fabric in contact with the non-woven fabric, wherein
the electrode cover is formed from an insulative non-woven fabric, and
the electrode cover and the non-woven fabric to which the conductive fabric is joined are joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming.
 
11. The sensor device according to Claim 10, wherein:

the sensor device is disposed inside a vehicle seat or inside a lining of a vehicle so that the electrode cover faces an outside of the vehicle seat or an outside of the lining, and

a color of the electrode cover is the same as a color of an outer surface of the vehicle seat or a color of an outer surface of the lining.


 
12. A method of manufacturing a sensor device that has first and second conductive fabrics forming electrodes and has an insulative non-woven fabric mutually insulating the first and second conductive fabrics, the method comprising:

joining the first conductive fabric to one surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming; and

joining the second conductive fabric to another surface of the non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming, wherein

the second conductive fabric is joined to the non-woven fabric in a place displaced from a place where the first conductive fabric is joined to the non-woven fabric in a plan view of the sensor device.


 
13. A method of manufacturing a sensor device that has first and second conductive fabrics forming electrodes and has first and second non-woven fabrics, which are insulative and overlaid, the method comprising:

joining the first conductive fabric to one surface of the first non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming;

joining the second conductive fabric to one surface of the second non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming; and

joining the first non-woven fabric to which the first conductive fabric is joined and the second non-woven fabric to which the second conductive fabric is joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming, the first and second non-woven fabrics being overlaid on each other so that the first and second conductive fabrics face each other with the first and second non-woven fabrics located in between, wherein

the first non-woven fabric and the second non-woven fabric are joined together at a position outside areas of the first and second conductive fabrics in a plan view of the sensor device.


 
14. A method of manufacturing a sensor device that has first and second conductive fabrics forming electrodes and has first and second non-woven fabrics, which are insulative, the method comprising:

joining the first conductive fabric to one surface of the first non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming;

joining the second conductive fabric to one surface of the second non-woven fabric by at least one of fusion and seaming; and

joining the first non-woven fabric to which the first conductive fabric is joined and the second non-woven fabric to which the second conductive fabric is joined together by at least one of fusion and seaming, the first and second non-woven fabrics being overlaid on each other so that the first and second conductive fabrics face each other with the first non-woven fabric located in between, wherein

the first non-woven fabric and second non-woven fabric are joined together at a position outside areas of the first and second conductive fabrics in a plan view of the sensor device.


 
15. A vehicle seat inside which the sensor device according to any one of Claims 1 to 10 is disposed.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description