Images

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Stretch conductive fabric and measure the change in conductivity.
  • Drive toy cars over a secret maze.
  • Test how secure a bag/wallet is to credit card details theft.

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Textiles technology will make us safer, healthier and more productive.

 
Textiles technology will make us safer and healthier. Watch this video to find out how smart sensing will provide clever clothes for people to wear.

The potential of smart clothing and wearable technology is exciting. But to make smart clothing practical we need better ways to apply electronic circuitry to fabric, so it’s not impaired by stretching, flexing or repeated washing. Our exhibit shows how we’re developing robust processes to ‘metallise’ fabric for electrical conductivity, and how clever clothing might be used in the future.

The use of conductive textiles in smart clothing has so many possible applications. Wearable technology might help people to navigate their surroundings, warm us up on a cold day, or monitor the heartbeat of someone with a cardiac condition. But many conductive fabrics perform poorly when subjected to day-to-day stresses. We’re working on solutions that fully encapsulate fibres with metal to develop a process that is hardwearing and washable, without interfering with the wearability of the fabric.

Lead image: Electronic circuitry could make smart clothing to warm us up on a cold day, navigate our surroundings, or monitor a person's heartbeat. Credit: National Physical Laboratory.