Key Research Areas

Electronic textiles

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.  



We are actively involved in e-textile standardization to establish comparable quality and processing standards.

Fraunhofer Research Area Technical Textiles



Ambassador der Smart Textiles Alliance

IZM-Services for electronic textiles

  • Application and requirement specific development of e-textile systems
  • Selection and characterization of suitable textile and electronic materials
  • Substrate technologies- including design and implementation of textile and textile-integrated conductors (embroidery, knitting, printing, lamination of TexPCB and SCBs)
  • Technologies for integrating electronics into textiles, including conductive and non-conductive bonding, low-temperature soldering, ultrasonic welding or connectors
  • Textile sensors and actuators
  • Realization of demonstrators and prototypes
  • Textile-suitable electronic hardware and software system design
  • Quality and reliability testing (including wash testing)
  • Damage and failure analysis

This might also be of interest to you


Blog RealIZM

E-MERGENCE: How electronics in fashion can reduce stress and support epilepsy patients


Working Group


The research group System on Flex at Fraunhofer IZM focuses on advancing the fields of flexible hybrid electronics, stretchable electronics and electronic textiles (smart textiles). The goal is developing innovative solutions for various applications.