Scaled-up Wearable Smart Textiles

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

Scaled-up process enables the production of knitted wearable textiles. A different approach has been adopted by researchers at the Institute for Frontier Materials at Geelong, Australia-based Deakin University to produce strain sensing smart textiles.A few disadvantages so far, regarding wearable textiles are scalability for mass production, acceptable cost, durability and washability.

Research undertaken features continuous production of conductive filaments, which can be used to knit functional textiles. This method differs from other ways of developing wearables such as adding/stitching electronic components or coating functional materials after the fabric is made.The conductive filament knitted fabrics were found to detect strains up to 200% and could be stable up to 500 cycles of stretches.

Functional filaments were wet spun from a solution of polyurethane and polyethylenedioxythiophene:polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) and then knitted into different knit structures, which acted as sensors. These knits could be worn on the human body such as limbs and were able to provide reliable strain responses. The authors claim that many different applications such as remote sensing of body parts, soft robotics, are possible.

Strain sensing textiles can be worn directly on the body without need of additional items, which is due to advances in the conductive fiber spinning stated, Dr. Shayan Seyedin, lead researcher in the project.