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Electronic textiles: A platform for pervasive computing

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17 Author(s)
D. Marculescu ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; R. Marculescu ; N. H. Zamora ; P. Stanley-Marbell
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The invention of the Jacquard weaving machine led to the concept of a stored "program" and "mechanized" binary information processing. This development served as the inspiration for C. Babbage's analytical engine-the precursor to the modern-day computer. Today, more than 200 years later, the link between textiles and computing is more realistic than ever. In this paper, we look at the synergistic relationship between textiles and computing and identify the need for their "integration" using tools provided by an emerging new field of research that combines the strengths and capabilities of electronics and textiles into one: electronic textiles, or e-textiles. E-textiles, also called smart fabrics, have not only "wearable" capabilities like any other garment, but also have local monitoring and computation, as well as wireless communication capabilities. Sensors and simple computational elements are embedded in e-textiles, as well as built into yarns, with the goal of gathering sensitive information, monitoring vital statistics, and sending them remotely (possibly over a wireless channel) for further processing. The paper provides an overview of existing efforts and associated challenges in this area, while describing possible venues and opportunities for future research.

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Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:91 ,  Issue: 12 )