Woven electronics for commercialization

[gallery] "Researchers have been experimenting with “intelligent” textiles for quite some time by integrating standard electronic components. However, for the most part the electronic parts have only been attached to or sewn into plain old clothes like coats or T-shirts – an endeavor ultimately doomed to fail because of one practical drawback: they’re difficult to wash. Moreover, it takes a lot of handiwork to produce them, which bumps up the price of the clothes.

Scientists from Professor Gerhard Tröster’s Wearable Computing Lab, however, have now gone one step further: they’ve developed a new technology to attach thin-film electronics and miniaturized, commercially available chips to plastic fibers. The researchers eventually succeeded in integrating a large number of microchips and other microelectronic elements directly into the architecture of the material. In order to weave the E-fibers into conventional threads, the ETH-Zurich scientists used customary textile machines." Continue reading on ETH Zurich.

Images from ETH Zurich via talk2myshirt.com

Knitted stretch sensing

Hannah Perner-Wilson of Pulsea has been exploring knitted stretch sensing. She's got a great photoset here that documents her experiments. I wonder how accurate the sensors ended up being. She is also exploring a circular knitting machine. I can't wait to see if and when she'll make some machine-made knitted stretch sensors.

See related post: Stretch Sensing Creates a New Aesthetic

Smart Fabrics 2009 Conference Review

This review by the folks at Innovation in Textiles of the 5th annual Smart Fabrics Conference that took place in Rome this year is definitely worth the read for anyone who is interested in wearables. In a nutshell, the newly forming eTextile business sector is rapidly developing legs outside of research, educational institutions, and DIY enthusiasts toward consumer products and mass markets. Read the full review

Stretch sensing creates a new aesthetic

I ran across this project while researching stretch sensing technology that is all the buzz right now. This gorgeous project, Aeolia, integrates stretch sensing directly into fabrics. "Each of the back forms incorporates the Merlin stretch sensor into an aesthetic exploration of textile technique mapped to the body." source What's interesting about this exploration is that the circuitry itself is integrated so beautifully and seamlessly into the fabric, that it creates a completely new aesthetic that also has the potential to fit comfortably and flexibly against the body. I would love to get my hands on a sample!

Whatch videos that demonstrate the material here.

Video dress aimed to hit the market

Future-thinking fashion designer Hussein Chalayan and Swarovski have created a dress that is covered in leds. It's one of the few attempts I've seen at creating an illuminating garment that is actually quite beautiful. The dress is made of two layers, the under layer is covered with a matrix of leds and the outer layer is used to diffuse the light making it seem soft and blended together.

The dress is also not just another conceptual exploration. The designers will be making it available in Japanese markets from fall and winter seasons in this year. (source)

Read additional postings on Chalayan.