Following a research initiative, researchers have developed a woven smart fabric display. The display of 46 inch features smart sensors, energy harnessing, and storage integrated directly into the fabric. Furthermore, the smart textile integrates active electronic, energy, sensing, and photonic functions.
The textile display is made of fibers and yarns, which are manufactured using textile-based industrial processes. The functions of the display are directly embedded in the yarns and fibers during manufacture.
The advent of the display could lead to applications that sound like sci-fi: curtains that are also TVs, interactive, self-powered clothing and fabrics, and energy-harvesting carpets.
In the first-ever, a scalable large-area complex system has been integrated into textiles using an entirely fiber-based manufacturing approach. The details of the finding are published in Nature Communications.
In fact, current manufacturing processes limit the development in the dimension and shape, and functionality of smart textiles despite recent progress.
The integration of specialized fibers into textiles through conventional knitting or weaving processes implies they could be incorporated into everyday use objects, which opens up a huge range of their potential applications. However, till date, the manufacture of these fibers is limited to size, or technology has not been able to co-exist with textiles and the weaving process.
Meanwhile, in order to enable the technology to be compatible with weaving, researchers coated each fiber component with materials that can sustain enough stretching to be suitable for use on textile manufacturing equipment. Besides this, the team also embedded some of the fiber-based components to improve the reliability and durability.
Lastly, the team joined multiple fiber components together using laser welding techniques and conductive adhesives.
The techniques stitched together enables to incorporate multiple functionalities into a large piece of woven fabric with standard, scalable manufacturing processes.