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Converting fabric into e-textiles without changing unique properties

Saarland University computer scientists invented a new way to turning fabric into e-textiles without changing unique properties. And these special textiles can be produced in a comparatively easy way, thus opening up new use cases.

Jürgen Steimle, Computer Science Professor at Saarland University says, “Our goal was to integrate interactive functionalities directly into the fibers of textiles instead of just attaching electronic components to them.”

Saarland-University-scientists-invented-turning-fabric-e-textiles
Figure:  Saarland University computer scientists invented a new way of turning fabric into e-textiles without changing unique properties. Courtesy: Thread in Motion

Steimle’s research group on human-computer interaction at Saarland Informatics Campus, are investigating how computers and their operation can be integrated as seamlessly as possible into the physical world. This comprises the use of electro-interactive materials.

Earlier methods to the production of these e-textiles are complex and influence the haptics of the material. The new technique makes it likely to convert textiles and garments into e-textiles, without disturbing their original properties – they remain thin, stretchable and supple. This creates new options for quick and versatile experimentation with new forms of e-textiles and their integration into IT devices.

“Especially for devices worn on the body, it is important that they restrict movement as little as possible and at the same time can process high-resolution input signals”, clarifies Paul Strohmeier, one of the initiators of the project and a scientist in Steimle’s research group.

To achieve this, the Saarbrücken researchers are using the in-situ polymerization process.

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