Compared to purely textile products, electronic textiles (e-textiles) offer added functionality through integrated electronic components. At yarn, textile or product level, integrated circuits enable e-textiles to e.g., heat or cool, create energy, provide sensor and actuator function, collect data or warn their users.
Wearable e-textiles in the form of garments, with miniaturized, stretchable and flexible circuits spread out over the textile, offer a comfortable and user-friendly solution for many sectors. Textile electronics are soft, thin, formable, lightweight, suitable for large area applications and can almost seamlessly disappear into the textile substrate, using innovative integration methods. Apart from medicine, rehabilitation and care, personal or professional protective equipment and sports, e-textiles are used for industrial applications, in buildings and vehicles as well as for immersive computing.
E-textiles combine two fields that differ considerable in their properties, requirements and processing methods: textiles and electronics. Especially when it comes to reliability, this poses a considerable challenge. Integrated electronics as well as textile conductors or sensors need to be robust enough to withstand application specific strains, yet the comfort and textile properties should not be compromised. To guarantee user friendliness, a collaborative effort between engineers and designers is key when developing innovative e-textiles.
Since more than 20 years, the multidisciplinary SOF team develops, tests and validates innovative e-textiles. Reliable interconnections and contacts between textile integrated circuits, sensors or conductors and stiff or flexible functional PCB modules are a key topic of the working group, as illustrated by the proprietary innovative textile bonding technology. The excellent textile and electronic production and testing infrastructure in our e-textile labs allows us to identify suitable technologies and materials according to application specific needs and implement state of the art e-textile prototypes. Paired with our extensive analytical capabilities, these are ideal conditions for R&D activities.