Scientists have found a way to incorporate electronic fibres in everyday fabrics, paving the way for affordable and durable ‘smart clothing’.
Currently, wearable electronics are created by essentially gluing devices to fabrics, which can mean they are too rigid and susceptible to malfunctioning.
The team, led by Monica Craciun from the University of Exeter in the UK, integrated electronic devices into the fabric of the material, by coating electronic fibres with light-weight, durable components that allow images to be shown directly on the fabric.
The research, published in Flexible Electronics, could revolutionise the creation of wearable electronic devices for every day applications, as well as for medical diagnostics.
“For truly wearable electronic devices to be achieved, it is vital that the components are able to incorporate within the material, and not simply added to it,” said Craciun.
“This new research opens up the gateway for smart textiles to play a pivotal role in so many fields in the not-too-distant future,” said Elias Torres Alonso, former PhD student in Craciun’s team.
At just one atom thick, graphene is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity. It is very flexible and is one of the strongest known materials.