Monday, May 27, 2024

Wearable Tech With Chipless Fiber For Smart Textiles

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A fiber that transforms the way to interact with clothing. Say goodbye to rigid batteries and chips and hello to comfortable, programmable garments that can display messages, change colors, and more. 

The quest to merge electronic devices with textiles has been ongoing for years, aiming to produce garments that display dynamic colours, patterns, or messages. However, previous attempts have been hindered by the need to incorporate rigid batteries and chips, resulting in discomfort for the wearer. The new fiber developed by this research team offers a solution to these challenges.

A collaboration between researchers from Donghua University in China and the National University of Singapore has made a development in wearable technology. The team has created a novel type of fiber that can convert visual signals into digital transmissions without relying on traditional chips or batteries, making it more comfortable and practical for integration into clothing. This research has been documented in the journal Science, with additional commentary provided by Yunzhu Li and Yiyue Luo from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and MIT, respectively.

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Comprising three layers, the fiber features a core layer that initiates an electromagnetic field, a dielectric layer that stores electromagnetic energy derived from the human body, and an optical layer that visualizes the electric field. The fiber operates by harnessing electromagnetic energy from the surrounding environment and utilizing the human body as a circuit. When integrated into a textile and worn, the fiber can convert environmental electromagnetic energy into radio waves and visible light, enabling it to emit signals when in contact with body parts such as the skin of the chest or a finger. The emitted signals can be programmed through specific control mechanisms.

To demonstrate the potential of their innovative fiber, the researchers incorporated it into a shirt, connecting it to a processor that could display messages on the garment. Additionally, they integrated a keyboard that allowed for message creation and sending by tapping on the wrist. This breakthrough paves the way for a new era of smart textiles that are more comfortable, versatile, and interactive, opening up exciting possibilities for wearable technology.

References:Weifeng Yang et al, Single body-coupled fiber enables chipless textile electronics, Science (2024). DOI: 10.1126/science.adk3755

Yunzhu Li et al, Intelligent textiles are looking bright, Science (2024). DOI: 10.1126/science.ado5922

Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Sondhi Gaur is a journalist at EFY. She has a German patent and brings a robust blend of 7 years of industrial & academic prowess to the table. Passionate about electronics, she has penned numerous research papers showcasing her expertise and keen insight.

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