wearable electronic research soon solar powered materials in electronics textile, watch, glass

Wearable electronics…?

5:08 AM, 23rd November 2013
wearable electronic research
convenient, wearable, solar-powered electronics hold promise.

WASHINGTON, US: Though some people already seem inseparable from their smartphones, even more convenient, wearable, solar-powered electronics could be on the way soon, woven into clothing fibers or incorporated into watchbands.

Researcher Taek-Soo Kim, Jung-Yong Lee, Jang Wook Choi and colleagues explained that electronic textiles have the potential to integrate smartphone functions into clothes, eyeglasses, watches and materials worn on the skin. Possibilities range from the practical - for example, allowing athletes to monitor vital signs - to the aesthetic, such as lighting up patterns on clothing. The bottleneck slowing progress toward development of a wider range of flexible e-fabrics and materials is the battery technology required to power them. Current wearable electronics, such as smartwatches and Google Glass, still require a charger with a cord, and already-developed textile batteries are costly and impractical. To unlink smart technology from the wall socket, the team had to rethink what materials are best suited for use in a flexible, rechargeable battery that’s also inexpensive.

They tested unconventional materials and found that they could coat polyester yarn with nickel and then carbon, and use polyurethane as a binder and separator to produce a flexible battery that kept working, even after being folded and unfolded many times. They also integrated lightweight solar cells to recharge the battery without disassembling it from clothing or requiring the wearer to plug in.

© ACS News




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