Electronic Textiles

Can you believe this, that a fabric you are wearing can monitor your health, guard you in case of any danger, measure the chemical mixture of your body fluids and do many more such things? But of course it is possible in today’s world of technology. Here we are taking about none other than the electronic textile, which is the commendable invention in the category of smart textile. E textile is used in numerous industries and purposes that are useful not only for human beings but for the entire living beings on the Earth.

Electronic textiles or more often called e textiles are the textiles that have electronics and interconnections. These electronics are woven into the fabric to make e textile wearable. With advancement in this sector you can get from a very simple computing devices to large and complex sensing and protective textiles.

Definition of Electronic Textile by E-Textile Research Group

“Electronic textiles (e-textiles) are fabrics that have electronics and interconnections woven into them, with physical flexibility and size that cannot be achieved with existing electronic manufacturing techniques. Components and interconnections are intrinsic to the fabric and thus are less visible and not susceptible to becoming tangled together or snagged by the surroundings. An e-textile can be worn in everyday situations where currently available wearable computers would hinder the user. E-textiles can also more easily adapt to changes in the computational and sensing requirements of an application, a useful feature for power management and context awareness.”

Advancements in Electronic Textiles

Scientist have developed the wireless key board fabric called ‘Eleck Tex’ a form of e textile. This is the patented accomplishment of Eleksen. This electronic textile is just 0.6 mm thick and used in handheld PCs, personal digital assistants and smart phones. This cloth is light in weight, wearable and washable.

Another efficient e-textile has been developed by Virginia Tech (VT) researchers. This electronic textile can observe your movements that include walking, running, sitting or standing. The e-textile is called Hokie Suit and has the capability of detecting any change in the direction and speed of motion of a person as it has interwoven wires and sensors. To wash this fabric just remove the sensors and wash it with wires. The data collected by sensors can then be transferred to computers to monitor your health during movements.

Smart Fabrics and Interactive Textiles (SFIT) has a dedicated team and many projects related to smart fabrics. These include Biotex (Bio-Sensing Textiles to Support Health Management), PROETEX (Protection e-Textiles: MicroNanostructured fibre systems for Emergency-Disaster Wear), OFSETH (Optical Fibre Sensors Embedded into technical Textile for Healthcare). Under the OFSETH project the optical fibers are used that can use light both as carrier and sensor. By this the oxygen content of the blood can be measured. This smart fabric can be wore around the neck.

E-textile has large application in narrow fabric industry. Electronic textile webbings are used extensively to transfer data, power and as input device. This e textile has been developed by Foster Miller Inc in combination with Chester.

So e-textiles or electronic textiles are indeed a bless as this technologically advanced fabric is used and potential of being used in medical and safety industry.