AsianScientist (Jun. 27, 2018) – In a study published in ACS Nano, scientists in China have developed electronic textiles (e-textiles) that are self-powered, highly sensitive and washable.
E-textiles can be used to control household appliances or computers from a distance at the touch of a wristband or some other wearable item or clothing. This property could be particularly helpful for those with limited mobility.
While e-textiles are not new, most existing versions have poor air permeability, cannot be washed or are too costly or complex to mass produce.
In the present study, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have overcome these limitations with a self-powered triboelectric nanogenerator. They fabricated their device by depositing an electrode array of conductive carbon nanotubes on nylon fabric.
To make the e-textile washable, they incorporated polyurethane into the carbon nanotube ink, which made the nanotubes firmly adhere to the fabric. They covered the array with a piece of silk and fashioned the textile into a wristband.
When swiped with a finger in different patterns, the e-textile generated electrical signals that were coupled to computers, which enabled the researchers to control houselights, a fan or a microwave from across the room. The e-textile is also breathable, washable and inexpensive to produce on a large scale, said the researchers.
Source: American Chemical Society; Photo: Pexels.
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