A new friend in your wardrobe, perhaps an electronic polo shirt, will help you turn on the house lights and start the music. In the meantime, it will keep you cool, dry, trendy, clean and virus free. Not necessarily in that order.
Purdue University researchers have developed a revolutionary fabric that thanks to a technology called RF-TENG allows the wearer to control electronic devices through clothing.
“For the first time, there is a technique capable of transforming clothes and fabrics into electronic fibers that feed themselves. They can incorporate sensors, music players or simple light indicators without long or expensive processes ". This is what Ramses Martinez, a professor at the industrial engineering school of Purdue's College of Engineering, assures.
"It is now possible to manufacture clothes that protect against rain, stains and bacteria while using the energy produced by the wearer's body to feed themselves," says Martinez. “It is a revolution in the development of wearable interfaces, which can now be washed in the washing machine like any other dress ".
The technology behind the invention
The omniphobic triboelectric nano generators (RF-TENGs) - make use of simple embroidery and fluorinated molecules to incorporate small electronic components. RF-TENG technology allows you to have a remote control on you, and at the same time keep bacteria, dirt, water and stains away from the wearer.
“Fashion has evolved enormously in recent centuries, but only today has it begun to incorporate high efficiency devices. For this reason, examples of smart fabrics and smart clothes are still few, " says Martinez. "Wearing clothes that can communicate with devices is the best and most natural approach to the revolution represented by IoT, the internet of things."
The technical department of Purdue College has already patented the RF-TENG technology and now the researchers are waiting for financiers to complete the tests and market the first clothes.