R. HUFENUS, S. GAAN, D. HEGEMANN, M. HEUBERGER
Empa, Advanced Fibers, Switzerland
The main obstacle of electronic smart textiles to enter a wider market is the still absent total textile integration. This includes desired properties like textile processability (spinning, weaving, embroydery, finishing etc.) as well as customer expectations (textile haptics, ease of use, washability) and finally an increasing need for a sustainable textile life cycle. The potential, however, for novel applications is very large, given the fact that textiles are accepted life-long accompaniments of us. Much effort is thus put into research and development for a better integration of electronic components into the textile substrate.
In our undertakings, we have decided to choose a rather different way and go one step back by re-developing simple electrical and electronic elements based on fully textile materials. I will present textile-based e-fibers, which we develop into a textile conducting platform by adding simple electronic functionalities like selective insulation, multi-electrode e-fibers or local sensing.
First applications in textile electrodes for ECG and muscle stimulation are shown and future developments given in an outlook.