T-Shirt Computing And Vinge's Wearables

Wearable computers are getting closer to reality, thanks to work done by a team based in Italy, France and the USA. They used cotton thread as the substrate.


(Cotton thread made conductive)

Nanoscale modification of natural cotton fibres with conformal coatings of gold nanoparticles, deposition of thin layers of the conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxithiophene) (PEDOT) and a combination of these two processes were employed to increase conductivity of plain cotton yarns.

This innovative approach was especially designed to fabricate two classes of devices: passive devices such as resistors obtained from electrically conductive cotton yarns, and two types of active devices, namely organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) and organic field effect transistors (OFETs).

The detailed electrical and mechanical analysis we performed on treated cotton yarns revealed that they can be used as conductors still maintaining a good flexibility. This study opens an avenue for real integration between organic electronics and traditional textile technology and materials.

Fans of sf great Vernor Vinge recall the wearable computers from his 2006 novel Rainbows End:

Wearable computers, what a concept. IBM PC meets Epiphany-brand high-fashion. In fact, Robert might have mistaken his new wardrobe for ordinary clothes. True, the shirts and pants were not a style he favored. There were embroidered patterns both inside and out. But the embroidery was more noticeable to the touch than the eye; Juan Orozco had to show him special views to reveal the net of microprocessors and lasers.
(Read more about Vinge's wearables)

From Science Direct via Extreme Tech.

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