Exuberant E-Textiles


Fashion technology e-textiles

E-textiles, a subset of smart textiles, is the integration of electronics and computing in fabric.

[ TIMELINE ]

+ Attaching sensor to apparel, using classical electronic devices, such as conductors, integrated circuits, LEDs, and conventional batteries embedded into garments.

+ Integrating electronics directly into the textile fiber substrates. Creating passive electronics such as conductors or active components like transistors, diodes, and solar cells.

+ Ability to sense, react, and adapt their behavior to the given circumstances.

[ USES ]

Will be developed in fields such as: Health, Military, Sports, Aerospace, Interior Design, Entertainment, and Art.

+ Quantified self: logging of heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, activity, posture, fatigue, injury, insulin, cortisol levels, blood pressure, microbial cells, sequence DNA, sleep cycles.

+ Physical training or therapy - regulate body temperature, reduce wind resistance, and control muscle vibration.

+ Regain or strengthen sensory perception.

+ Detect and guard against hazard or extreme environment.

+ Augmented reality.

+ Conduct energy.

[ MATERIALS ]

+ Conductive Textile : fabric that can conduct electricity. Can be made with metal strands woven into the construction of the textile. Semiconducting textiles, made by embedding normal textiles with carbon or metal-based powders. Electrically conductive fibers can also be produced by coating the fibers with metals, galvanic substances or metallic salts.

+ Conductive Fibers : non-conductive or less conductive substrate, then either coated or embedded with electrically conductive elements, often carbon, nickel, copper, gold, silver, or titanium. Substrates typically include cotton, polyester, nylon, and stainless steel to high performance fibers such as aramids and PBO.

+ Conductive Inks : must contain appropriate highly conductive metal precursor such as Ag, Cu, and Au NPs and carrier vehicle. Most are water based: water being the main ink component and to limit contaminants, must be as pure as possible. Can be printed onto textiles to create electrically active patterns. Screen printing also makes integration with planar electronics simpler than with conductive yarn systems.

+ Stretch Sensors : component that changes resistance when stretched. Relaxed - sensor material has a nominal resistance of 1000 ohms per linear inch. Stretched - resistance gradually increases. When stretched 50 % its resistance will approximately double to 2.0 Kohms per inch. Textile is in contact with the skin in order to monitoring the body.

+ Pressure Sensors : capacity for some system to sense the force exerted on a surface per unit area and express that force in the strength of an electric signal. Can be used to measure force, and in some cases, to determine the contour of an applied force.

+ Electrochemical Sensors : device that provides continuous information about its environment. Main types of electrochemical sensors: potentiometric, amperometric and conductometric.

+ Electroluminescent Fabric : gives off light after being exposed to electricity.

EL wire needs a high voltage, roughly 100 volts, to glow brightly.

Composed of layers :

[1] Core layer - copper wire that conducts with an alternating current power system

[2] Coating of electroluminescent phosphor that emits light

[3] Two wires wrapped around the phosphor completing circuit

[4] Plastic sheaths protecting the phosphor material and user from electric shocks

+ Light Emitting Diodes : LEDs are small light bulbs designed to fit into electrical circuits.

Light is created as a byproduct of electron motion within semiconductor material. Electrons move from high energy states to lower ones, releasing photons. LEDs harness and focus the photons into the bulbs.

+ Polymer Light Emitting Diode : PLED display is a thin, flexible film composed of polymers with capabilities of emitting the full color spectrum of light. Made of organic molecules, there fore also known as OLEDs.

Composed of layers :

[1] Glass / plastic substrate - for fabric displays, plastic is less fragile but more flexible than glass.

[2] Transparent electrode coating, applied to one side of the substrate.

[3] Coating on same side of substrate with the light emitting polymer film.

[4] Evaporated metal electrode, applied to other side of the polymer film.