With embedded technology allowing the incorporation of semiconductors into fabrics, many exciting applications are emerging.
FREMONT, CA: There have been massive leaps in the last few years when it comes to the development of fabrics that can be embedded with semiconductors. Such embedded fabrics fulfill protective as well as aesthetic purposes. According to an article by Design News, the addition of sensors or semiconductors into fabrics allows the design of smart clothing. Researchers have embedded high-speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices into fabrics and then transformed them into soft, washable-clothes. Such materials can be used as high-tech in ways across sectors varying from medical to military.
Three different ways of embedding sensors and semiconductors into textiles have been formulated until now. The first means of integrating smart components and textiles require the electronics elements to be mounted directly onto the surface of the fabrics. However, the electronics are not a part of the fabrics' structure. The second method of combining semiconductor and fabrics involves processes like weaving, knitting, and embroidery, which result in the addition of electronic functionality. The main focus on the use of conductive fibers intends to create conductive pathways or electrodes like fabric transducers, sensor fabrics, and a wearable motherboard. The third way to embed semiconductor components into fabric involves electronic yarns that have poor tensile strength. The low tensile strength of the threads can be attributed to the inability to extract the filaments soon after extrusion without affecting the copper wire interconnects.
The first two ways of combining semiconductor and textiles modify the material of the materials partly or fully. The major advantage of using an E-yarn is that it alters the quality of the fabric materials minimally. Another benefit of using E-yarn is that the yarn properties can be retained to a greater extent than when utilizing other materials. The key applications of these sensors and semiconductor-embedded fabrics are expected to be in the development of smart wearables for use in the military and the biomedical sector.
See Also: Semiconductor Review