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The convergence of electronic components and advanced fibers with man-made textiles straddles the fields of materials science and digital electronics. Such ‘smart’ textiles (also known as electronic or e-textiles) fall into the category of intelligent or smart materials that sense and respond to environmental stimuli. Smart textile innovations will enable challenging and competitive applications in healthcare and relevant industries in consumer electronics. Within the field of wearable computing, smart textile applications range from medical monitoring of physiological signals including heart-rate, guided training and rehabilitation of athletes, assistance to emergency first-responders and commercial applications where electronics including ipod controls, displays and keyboards are integrated into every-day clothing.
We are one of the leading groups working on smart textiles. Currently, we are working on two projects related to textile integration:
1. Smart Shirt (SMASH) (Harms)
The motivation for the SMASH project was to develop a new versatile sensor platform, that is integrated into a common loose fitting long sleeve shirt. The clothing can be equipped with motion sensors to provide feedback about the wearer’s movements or postures.
Link to project: SMASH
2. Electronic Sensor Fibers (Cherenack, Kinkeldei, Zysset)
While smart textiles are evolving to integrate more electronic functions into textiles at the fiber level, most fibers are limited to a single functionality (e.g. electrical conductivity). We have developed a method of combining thin-film electronic circuits and commercial integrated circuits with plastic fibers (e-fibers) that can be woven into textiles using a commercial manufacturing process. This method creates a platform to integrate a large variety of microelectronic circuits, sensors and systems intimately within textile architectures. Here, our contribution to the field of smart textiles is a “novel method to integrate electronic circuits into smart textiles using commercial textile machines” by weaving prefabricated plastic e-fibers, with ductile metal interconnection lines, integrated circuits and thin film sensors into a textile. This work is funded by the Nano-tera TecInTex project and the Nanotera TWIGS project.
Link to smart textile videos: Videos
Link to project: Electronic Sensor Fibers
Textile Pressure Sensor (Jan Meyer)
Link to project: Textile Pressure Sensor
Backmanager (Corinne Mattmann)
Link to project: Backmanager
Conductive Textiles (Ivo Locher)
Link to project: Conductive Textiles
Textile Antennas (Ivo Locher)
Link to project: Textile Antennas
Textile Transistor (Ivo Locher)
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