Protecting babies from SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a common fear among parents (especially new parents). Cautious parents typically sneak into their child's room to check on their breathing pattern's while sleeping or even co-sleep so it's easier to constantly monitor them. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin created a concept Romper suit to protect against this potentially devastating event. The suit includes an "integrated sensor system could warn parents as soon as their child stops breathing. The cornerstone of the sensor system is a stretchable printed circuit board that fits to the contours of the body, making it hardly noticeable."

How it works

"The circuit board is made of polyurethane, also known as PU. This is a cost-efficient material more commonly used for coating surfaces, as a sealant, or as a cushioning material. 'The circuit board we have developed can be manufactured using routine industrial processes, meaning a high throughput and, consequently, good cost-efficiency,' says Manuel Seckel, scientist at the IZM. 'Furthermore, components can be positioned on it just as precisely as on a standard board thanks to the stability of the stretchable substrate during processing. This stands in contrast to textile-based electronics, where one can expect an offset of up to five millimeters over a half-meter area.'"

Continue reading at Fraunhofer.

Stretchable electric cable acts like skin

Japanese chemical company Asahi Kasei, has created a flexible electronic cable called Roboden that stretches by a factor of 1.5, much like the human skin. Many electronic yarns and threads change resistance when pulled or stretched, which can reduce the power in a circuit unwillingly or by design. This is the basis of woven and knitted stretch sensors that are currently being explored.

But rather than changing resistence when stretched, the Roboden can be stretched up to a factor of 1.5 without changing resistance. They mention applications in the robotics field, but this could be very useful in wearable technology solutions where there is a need to integrate circuitry throughout the garment that can carry the same power and current when stretched.

Right now, the cable looks rather bulky to be used practically in wearables. I would love to see a smaller next version. Keep up the great work Asahi Kasei!

Capturing and harnessing energy

Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering is always up to something interesting that helps move the field of wearable technology forward. Recently, researchers have discovered a way to capture and harness energy transmitted by such sources as radio and television transmitters, cell phone networks and satellite communications systems. By scavenging this ambient energy from the air around us, the technique could provide a new way to power networks of wireless sensors, microprocessors and communications chips. Professor Manos Tentzeris who is leading the research said:

There is a large amount of electromagnetic energy all around us, but nobody has been able to tap into it. We are using an ultra-wideband antenna that lets us exploit a variety of signals in different frequency ranges, giving us greatly increased power-gathering capability.

The devices are also rather beautiful and easy to create. Tentzeris and his team are using inkjet printers to combine sensors, antennas and energy-scavenging capabilities on paper or flexible polymers. They are flat, flexible, and have a strong graphical pattern...perfect for garment integration.

Continue reading on Georgia Tech. Image Georgia Tech.

High-Tech Couture Made Without Any Stitches Or Cuts

[gallery]Royal College of Art textile student Jungeun Lee, has created a collection of gorgeous garments that are constructed without any stitches or cuts called Wrapped Garment. The garments use synthetic fiber and a heating process to create three-dimensional, sculptural designs that require no cutting, weaving, or sewing. "The influx of new production technologies in fashion has created some interesting designs -- from Issey Miyake’s rapid prototyping, Amy Winters’s light-reactive clothing, even jackets made from microbes. But Lee’s method is actually quite simple: Wrap the synthetic fibers (either lots of short ones or one long thread) around a mannequin using a normal two-dimensional pattern made out of cardboard, then apply heat. The process can be used to create products...including shoes" Continue reading on

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Gloves that capture your secrets

[gallery]Designer and maker, Meg Grant, has been exploring wearable technology and eTextiles. Her latest work Secret Keeper Gloves, extends human behavior and tendencies in a poetic, playful way through simple interaction triggered by natural gestures. The gloves capture your secret as you cup your hands over your mouth to whisper it. Here's how it works:

  • The batteries, microchip and speaker are all in the left hand. This means that the left hand has a fully-contained playback circuit.
  • In order to activate playback, press the thumb and the forefinger of the left hand together.
  • The only components in the right hand are the microphone and an indicator LED.
  • When the left and right palms are pressed together, the record circuit is connected at three points, two on the heel of the hand for power and ground and one on the side of the hand for input from the microphone.
  • Record is activated by pressing the left and right thumbs together.
  • The embroidery makes it possible for the wearer to use a variety of thumb positions for record and playback.

Via talk2myshirt More info at Images from

Growing light

[gallery] I instantly fell in love with this project by Jordy Rooijakkers (TU/e Industrial Design) for Philips Lumiblade Creative Lab, which is a Growing Light that responds to touch. Caress the light or tap it gently and it reacts by subtly transforming into a new illuminating form.

In the wearable tech field, designers have been exploring this type of physical transformational behavior in garments. A few include the following. However, I have yet to see any explorations that incorporate movement AND light in this way.

More info at Images from