The next generation of waterproof smart fabrics will be laser printed and made in minutes. That’s the future imagined by the researchers behind new e-textile technology.
Scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cost-efficient and scaleable method for rapidly fabricating textiles that are embedded with energy storage devices.
In just three minutes, the method can produce a 10x10cm smart textile patch that’s waterproof, stretchable and readily integrated with energy harvesting technologies.
The technology enables graphene supercapacitors—powerful and long-lasting energy storage devices that are easily combined with solar or other sources of power—to be laser printed directly onto textiles.
In a proof-of-concept, the researchers connected the supercapacitor with a solar cell, delivering an efficient, washable and self-powering smart fabric that overcomes the key drawbacks of existing e-textile energy storage technologies.
The growing smart fabrics industry has diverse applications in wearable devices for the consumer, health care and defence sectors—from monitoring vital signs of patients, to tracking the location and health status of soldiers in the field, and monitoring pilots or drivers for fatigue.
Dr. Litty Thekkakara, a researcher in RMIT’s School of Science, said smart textiles with built-in sensing, wireless communication or health monitoring technology called for robust and reliable energy solutions. As publjcated in https://phys.org/news/2019-08-laser-tech-waterproof-e-textiles-minutes.html