Researchers at the University of Purdue have come up with a first-of-its kind smart textile innovation that can provide wearers not only protection, but also the ability to power up textile-based electronics. Wearing clothes made from Purdue’s fabric innovation can keep a person, dry, neat and protected from viruses, as well as capable of turning on simple electronic devices.

The e-textile, which Purdue researchers describe as founded on a surface coating that repels nearly everything (omniphobic) with triboelectric nanogenerators (RF-TENG), gives the fabric waterproof, stain proof and antibacterial qualities, as well as remote control capability.

RF-TENG, by the way is a type of wireless technology that transmits radio frequency (RF) using a combination of triboelectric (electric charge produced by friction) nanogenerator (TENG) and piezoelectric effect. That way, the smart textile becomes a self-powered material that can remotely send coded signal to the receiver of a music player or a simple lighting equipment, every time the sensor is triggered.

Piezoelectric Effect is similar to static electricity but better, as it refers to the ability of a certain material to produce an electric charge when mechanical stress is applied.

Purdue Engineering Professor Tells More About E-Textile Innovation

Through simple embroidery that is added to the fabric, and fluorinated molecules that embed minute electronic components, an e-textile wearer can have extra protection. At the same time, he or she carries on his or her person a ready mechanism for powering up devices, especially useful during times of emergency.

According to Assistant Professor Ramses Martinez of Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, fabrication of the e-textile does not require expensive and complex steps, nor involve the use of expensive equipment. The technology uses a simple embroidery for its sensors.

Assistant Professor Martinez added that their textile innovation poses as a significant advancement in the development of machine-human interfaces that are wearable. Mainly because the electronic textile can be machine washed several times over without risk of degrading its capabilities.

The Purdue engineering professor enthused that

”An interface with a machine that we can constantly wear seems like the most convenient approach to seamless communication and interaction with machines and the Internet of Things (IoT).”

Smart Textile Aligned with Purdue University’s Year-Long Celebration of the 150th Anniversary

The development of the e-textile is aligned with Purdue University’s “Giant Leaps” celebration of the institute’s 150th anniversary. It represents one of the themes of the “Ideas Festival” that showcases Purdue as an intellectual center involved in solving real-world issues.

As a supplementary topic about smart wearables and electronics, it may interest readers to know that the Amazon online store will be holding this year’s Amazon Great Indian Sale from September 04 to 08, 2019. Amazon members registering to participate in the event can have priority over non-members, particularly for big brand electronic stocks up for grabs with big deal offers, which tend to run out quickly.