E-textiles control home appliances with the swipe of a finger

Electronic textiles could allow a person to control household appliances or computers from a distance simply by touching a wristband or other item of clothing — something that could be particularly helpful for those with limited mobility. Now researchers, reporting in ACS Nano, have developed a new type of e-textile that is self-powered, highly sensitive and washable.

Researchers have successfully incorporated washable, stretchable and breathable electronic circuits into fabric, opening up new possibilities for smart textiles and wearable electronics. University of Cambridge

American Chemical Society June 13, 2018

E-textiles are not new, but most existing versions have poor air permeability, can’t be laundered or are too costly or complex to mass-produce. Jiaona Wang, Hengyu Guo, Congju Li and coworkers wanted to develop an E-textile that overcomes all of these limitations and is highly sensitive to human touch.

Electronic textiles could allow a person to control household appliances or computers from a distance simply by touching a wristband or other item of clothing — something that could be particularly helpful for those with limited mobility. Researchers now have developed a new type of “E-textile” that is self-powered, highly sensitive and washable, according to a report in ACS Nano. American Chemical Society. Published on Youtube Jun 13, 2018

The researchers made a self-powered triboelectric nanogenerator by depositing an electrode array of conductive carbon nanotubes on nylon fabric. To make the E-textile washable, they incorporated polyurethane into the carbon nanotube ink, which made the nanotubes firmly adhere to the fabric. They covered the array with a piece of silk and fashioned the textile into a wristband.

When swiped with a finger in different patterns, the E-textile generated electrical signals that were coupled to computers to control programs, or to household objects to turn on lights, a fan or a microwave from across the room. The E-textile is breathable for human skin, washable and inexpensive to produce on a large scale, the researchers say.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Beijing Natural Science Foundation, the National Natural Science FoundationNational Key R&D Project from Minister of Science and Technology, the Programs for Beijing Science and Technology Leading Talent, the Beijing Hundred, Thousand and Ten Thousand Talent Project, the General Program of Science and Technology Development Project of Beijing Municipal Education Commission of China, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, and the “Thousands Talents” Program for Pioneer Researcher and His Innovation Team.

Screen-Printed Washable Electronic Textiles as Self-Powered Touch/Gesture Tribo-Sensors for Intelligent Human-Machine Interaction, Cao R, Pu X, Du X, Yang W, Wang J, Guo H, Zhao S, Yuan Z, Zhang C, Li C, Wang ZL. ACS Nano. 2018 May 22. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.8b02477. [Epub ahead of print]

Fully inkjet-printed two-dimensional material field-effect heterojunctions for wearable and textile electronics, Tian Carey, Stefania Cacovich, Giorgio Divitini, Jiesheng Ren, Aida Mansouri, Jong M. Kim, Chaoxia Wang, Caterina Ducati, Roman Sordan & Felice Torrisi. Nature Communications volume 8, Article number: 1202 (2017)

Source American Chemical Society
via Science Daily

Also see
Fully integrated circuits printed directly onto fabric in University of Cambridge
E-Textile Swatch Exchange in etextile-summercamp.org

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