Future wearable and their materials - part 1
Circuits and semiconductors have been made from metal until now but you cant really wear metal because it is not comfortable or practical as a fashion textile. Its stiffness and inflexibility don't recommend it and it won't really last very long if you put it in the washing machine.
If the electronics packed with sensors and biometric trackers are going to be transformed in wearables, a whole new generation of e-textiles and fabrics will be needed to design them.
Batteries that bend
Everyone thinks at the batteries only it the matter of how long they can last but their size it is not always mentioned or considered as a problem. A phone's battery size it is alright but the problem is that you can't fit that into a smarwatch or futuristic shirt.
The items that can harvest ambient energy from the environment such as friction, heat or electro-magnetics have been the holy grail of technology but the practical reality is still a long way off. The South Korean firm Jenax sticks with the tradition but it changes its shape altogether.
The Jenax J. Flex watch can be bent or twisted, scrunched or folded or even crumpled into what space is available. The battery of a traditional smartwatch is six time weaker than this one.
This new project is going through testing and soon it will have success because the thin batteries are finally very real and ready to be used.
Fabric circuits that can bend
The batteries are not the only thing that needs to be changed. Smartphone chips are being installed in smartwatches and everything is getting clever.
Ralph Lauren designer company created their first Polo Tech Shirt that uses a bio-sensing silver fibres that can read your body. It can read your heart-rate, muscle activity and many more. All of the data goes to the brains of the outfit which is placed at the side of the shirt.
At the moment, Ralph Lauren isn't the only developer of such things but the main problem for all of them is that the chips are not that flexibile and small and they need adjusting.
Xiao Ming Tao and it's developers team invented fabric-based circuit boards that can't be distinguished from normal clothings. Its strength and water resistance recommends it.
These projects are clearly not cheap and not ready for mass production. A Massachusetts electronics company calld MC10, developed a Biostamp sticker that literally sticks to your skin's surface, getting powered by a very thin battery. The sillicon transfers that are in all the batteries are reduced here to a fraction of the width of a human hair. Then, those are combined with stretchable interconnects and elastic polymers. The result of all of these operations are the chips that can adhere to your body. They can even be placed internally, on organs like heart or brain and they will detect cardiac and muscle activty for example in athletes or just monitor health conditions.