MMaterialsgateNEWS 2013/11/21

Solar-powered battery woven into fabric overcomes hurdle for ‘wearable electronics’

Though some people already seem inseparable from their smartphones, even more convenient, wearable, solar-powered electronics could be on the way soon, woven into clothing fibers or incorporated into watchbands. This novel battery development, which could usher in a new era of “wearable electronics,” is the topic of a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

Taek-Soo Kim, Jung-Yong Lee, Jang Wook Choi and colleagues explain that electronic textiles have the potential to integrate smartphone functions into clothes, eyeglasses, watches and materials worn on the skin. Possibilities range from the practical — for example, allowing athletes to monitor vital signs — to the aesthetic, such as lighting up patterns on clothing. The bottleneck slowing progress toward development of a wider range of flexible e-fabrics and materials is the battery technology required to power them. Current wearable electronics, such as smartwatches and Google Glass, still require a charger with a cord, and already-developed textile batteries are costly and impractical. To unlink smart technology from the wall socket, the team had to rethink what materials are best suited for use in a flexible, rechargeable battery that’s also inexpensive.

They tested unconventional materials and found that they could coat polyester yarn with nickel and then carbon, and use polyurethane as a binder and separator to produce a flexible battery that kept working, even after being folded and unfolded many times. They also integrated lightweight solar cells to recharge the battery without disassembling it from clothing or requiring the wearer to plug in.

Source: American Chemical Society – 20.11.2013.

Investigated and edited by:

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Konetschny, Inhaber und Gründer von Materialsgate
Büro für Material- und Technologieberatung
The investigation and editing of this document was performed with best care and attention.
For the accuracy, validity, availability and applicability of the given information, we take no liability.
Please discuss the suitability concerning your specific application with the experts of the named company or organization.

You want additional material or technology investigations concerning this subject?

Materialsgate is leading in material consulting and material investigation.
Feel free to use our established consulting services

MMore on this topic

As scientists develop the next wave of smartwatches and other wearable computing, they might want to continue focusing their attention on the arms and the wrists. According to a recent Georgia Tech study, portable electronic devices placed on the collar, torso, waist or pants may cause awkwardness, embarrassment or strange looks.

In a paper titled "Don't Mind Me Touching My Wrist," Georgia Tech researchers reported the results of a case study of interaction with on-body technology in public. Specifically, they surveyed people in both the United States and South Korea to gain cultural insights into perceptions of the use of e-textiles, or electronic devices, stitched into everyday clothing. For the study, researchers directed participants to watch videos of people silencing incoming phone calls using e-textile interfaces on various parts of their body, including wrists, forearms, collarbones, torsos, waists and the front pant pocket. They were asked to describe their thoughts about the interaction... more read more

A new technique for depositing silver onto clothing fibres could open up huge opportunities in wearable electronics.

Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's National Measurement Institute, have developed a way to print silver directly onto fibres. This new technique could make integrating electronics into all types of clothing simple and practical. This has many potential applications in sports, health, medicine, consumer electronics and fashion. Most current plans for wearable electronics require weaving conductive materials into fabrics, which offer limited flexibility and can only be achieved when integrated into the design of the clothing from the start. NPL's technique could allow lightweight circuits to be printed directly onto complete garments. Silver coated fibres... more read more

Research paves way for thin-sheet plastic displays or wearable electronics

Organic semiconductors hold promise for making low-cost flexible electronics – conceivably video displays that bend like book pages or roll and unroll like posters, or wearable circuitry sewn into uniforms or athletic wear. Researchers have demonstrated the ability to "print" transistors made of organic crystals on flexible plastic sheets, using technology that resembles inkjet or gravure printing. However, for the technology's potential to be realized, scientists have to show that these organic semiconductors will withstand the rugged handling they invite – they will need to perform reliably in spite of frequent flexing and sharp bending. In an article published Dec... more read more

Researchers from the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at PolyU have developed a new technology that allows electronics to drape around our body comfortably. The researchers have engineered a new fabric that can conduct electricity, paving the way for stretchable electronics.

Sensors and other electronics are usually made of rigid and stiff material such as metals and plastics. They cannot be stretched, twisted or thrown, and should be handled with care. But that is about to change. Researchers from the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at PolyU have developed a new technology that allows electronics to drape around our body comfortably. Defying our imagination, the researchers have engineered a new fabric that can conduct electricity, paving the way for stretchable electronics. The pressure sensitive fabric is made of flexible polymers and nano-carbon materials. Through advanced fabrication process, conductive nano-carbon materials were laced onto polymer to... more read more

MaterialsgateNEWSLETTER

Partner of the Week

Search in MaterialsgateNEWS

Books and products

MaterialsgateFAIR:
LET YOURSELF BE INSPIRED