Smart textilies

The definition of an e-textile or ‘smart textile’ includes any textile with integrated electronics or computers. This enables the textiles to react and adapt to external stimuli and to interact with their surroundings. Smart textiles can be classified depending on the level of integration of the electronics into the textile base. Firstly, the stage of adaption implies the electronics are fully detachable from the textile. Secondly, (Seamless) integration describes electronics permanently embedded at yarn, textile, or product level. The stage where electronic and textile components merge on a fiber level is combination. Most prevalent in the market today are the stages of adaption, integration, and intermediate stages. There are several detachable components while others are non-removable.

With a wide range of possible applications, many smart textiles are designed to be wearable, worn close to or on the body. The ideal wearable is a sustainable, easy to use and operate, highly comfortable and machine washable product. This product has excellent computing capabilities and data security-standards. These requirements are much higher than the ones that either electronics or textiles need to fulfil. Therefore, most e-textiles on the market do not meet all of them completely. Smart Textiles integrate the electronic components in a way that maintains the substrate’s textile-typical properties. Professional opinions consider washability as the key aspect for wide-ranging acceptance and the success of textiles.

HOW WEARABLES WILL AFFECT PROTECTION, FASHION, AND COMMUNICATION

There are smartphones, smart homes – and now even our textiles are getting smart. Their practical potential is already being tested by the emergency services, but smart textiles are also set to conquer the world from medicine to fashion and,…