A team of experts fromUniversity of Cambridge has managed to develop an innovative fabric that can be used as a display. By combining research, passion and experience, a new level of man-technology integration has been reached.
The researchers not only succeeded in developing an intelligent textile display, but also enabled it to harvest energy. This means that someday it might be possible to charge your phone just by putting it in your pocket. A tempting prospect isn't it?
For the time being, the team proposes to use it for the production of 'tents - televisions, mats for energy harvesting and interactive, self-powered clothing'. The classic use of "smart fabric".
We know that such inventions already exist. However, this is the first time that a smart fabric can be produced via typical textile industrial processes.
The team's project can effectively enter the global market, without turning into yet another elitist discovery.
The new smart fabric
Compared to several other products tested previously, this new project is able to incorporate electronic functions directly into yarns and textile fibers. However, the woven fabric remains robust, as each component is covered with materials suitable to resist twisting or stretching.
The individual fiber components are joined together through the addition of conductive adhesives and laser welding. All this ensures that the energy is able to flow quietly inside the textile display.
Dr Luigi Occhipinti, one of the collaborators of the project, expressed a very positive opinion regarding the possible future prospects. Below, we report what has been said:
The resulting fabric can function as a display, monitor various inputs, or store energy for later use. It is able to detect radiofrequency, touch, light and temperature signals; it can also be rolled up, and because it's made using commercial textile manufacturing techniques, large rolls of functional fabric can be made.
Harnessing the full potential of textile manufacturing, we may soon see smart, energy-autonomous Internet of Things devices that seamlessly integrate into everyday objects and many other industry applications.
The research results can be found in the scientific journal Nature Communications.