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Weaving integrated circuits into textiles

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4 Author(s)
Zysset, C. ; Wearable Comput. Group, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland ; Cherenack, K. ; Kinkeldei, T. ; Troster, G.

In this paper, we present and demonstrate a technology for integrating electronic functionality at the yarn level of woven textiles. The technology principles are compliant with commercial weaving processes and suitable for large scale manufacturing. Thin-film devices, interconnect lines and contact pads are patterned and silicon-based integrated circuits are attached to flexible plastic substrates. The substrates are cut into electronic fibers (e-fibers), which are woven into smart textiles using a commercial weaving machine. Conductive textile threads interconnect the e-fibers among each other, forming a bus structure in the textile. We demonstrate the technology with a woven textile incorporating 5 sensor e-fibers with a total of 10 temperature sensor-ICs connected to a bus topology. This textile integration method results in smart textiles that are mechanically robust while maintaining essential textile properties such as drapability. The woven textile is used as a part of an undershirt to monitor the temperature between skin and clothing layers to predict heat stroke and undercooling. The demonstrator is only one of many wearable computing applications that can be enabled with this smart textile technology.

Published in:

Wearable Computers (ISWC), 2010 International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

10-13 Oct. 2010