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Integration Method for Electronics in Woven Textiles

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5 Author(s)
Christoph Zysset ; Wearable Computing Laboratory, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland ; Thomas Wilhelm Kinkeldei ; Niko Munzenrieder ; Kunigunde Cherenack
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This paper presents a technology to integrate electronics at the thread level in woven textiles. Flexible plastic substrates are cut into stripes and serve as carriers for electronics, including ICs, thin-film devices, interconnect lines, and contact pads. These functionalized plastic stripes, called e-stripes, are woven into textiles. Conductive threads perpendicular to the e-stripes electrically interconnect the devices on the individual e-stripes. The integration of e-stripes and conductive threads into the woven textiles is compatible with commercial weaving processes and suitable for large-scale manufacturing. We demonstrate the technology with a woven textile containing five e-stripes with digital temperature sensors. Conductive threads interconnect the e-stripes among each other to form a bus topology. We show that the contacts between the conductive threads and the pads on e-stripes as well as the contacts between the temperature sensors and e-stripes withstand shear forces of at least 20 N. The integration of the temperature sensors into the textile increases the bending rigidity of the textile by 30%; however, it is still possible to obtain a textile-bending radii of <;1 mm. This technology seamlessly integrates electronics into textiles, thus advancing the field of smart textiles and wearable computing.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 7 )