The Road to True Wearable Electronics

(6/14/2010 18:00)

People today are carrying around an increasing number of electronic devices, both for recreational as well as professional purposes. It is not unusual for a person to be equipped with a number of portable devices such as a phone, CD player, computer etc. The public’s dependence upon mobile devices has created a need for lightweight, flexible electronic equipment. Textile structures, being strong, flexible, lightweight and able to conform to almost any shape are ideally suited for use in these revolutionary new products. Many exciting innovative electrically conductive textile products are already being developed. These interactive products are designed to have a conductive network incorporated into the fabric structure. The electrically conductive network within the fabric works in concert with the environment, soft switches and microcomputers to accurately sense and appropriately respond to different types of external stimuli such as pressure, temperature, or an electrical charge. A few of the exciting products being developed include a bathing suits with an integrated audio player; a shirt with its own mobile phone; a ski jacket that warns the wearer of environmental hazards; and a child’s T-shirt with a built-in global positioning satellite system that allows a parent to track a child’s whereabouts. The versatility of textiles lends itself so well to these types of products that we are only limited by our imagination.
For the last twenty years textile fabrics with electrically conductive and semiconductive constituents have been utilized in a wide variety of applications. These types of fabrics have been designed to alleviate one problem in a passive manner. It is envisioned that a new range of truly wearable electronics could be within reach by integrating electronics and textile structures. This paper reviews the technology of electrically conductive structures and their current applications. Additionally, the paper sheds light on the challenges tha

By: Kim Anderson & Abdelfattah M. Seyam North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Submit Date: 6/14/2010 18:00

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