Soon, You Could be Wear­ing Com­put­ers in Your Clothes

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

New York: Imag­ine shirts that act as an­ten­nas for smart­phones or tablets, work­out clothes that mon­i­tor fit­ness level or even a f lex­i­ble fab­ric cap that senses ac­tiv­ity in the brain!

All this will soon be pos­si­ble as the re­searchers work­ing on wear­able elec­tron­ics have been able to em­broi­der cir­cuits into fab­ric with su­per pre­ci­sion — a key step to­ward the de­sign of clothes that gather, store or trans­mit dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion.

“A rev­o­lu­tion is hap­pen­ing in the tex­tile in­dus­try. We be­lieve that func­tional textiles are an en­abling tech­nol­ogy for com­mu­ni­ca­tions and sens­ing and one day, even for med­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions like imag­ing and health mon­i­tor­ing,” said lead re­searcher John Vo­lakis from Ohio State Univer­sity. The mile­stone achieved by the Ohio re­searchers has the po­ten­tial to al­low in­te­gra­tion of elec­tronic com­po­nents such as sen­sors and com­puter mem­ory de­vices into cloth­ing with 0.1 mm pre­ci­sion. With fur­ther de­vel­op­ment, the tech­nol­ogy could also lead to sports equip­ment that mon­i­tor ath­letes’ per­for­mance or a ban­dage that tells doc­tors how well the tis­sue be­neath it is heal­ing.

Vo­lakis’ team cre­ated the func­tional textiles also called “e-textiles,” on a typ­i­cal table­top sewing ma­chine. Like other mod­ern sewing ma­chines, it em­broi­ders thread into fab­ric au­to­mat­i­cally based on a pat­tern loaded via a com­puter file.

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