British scientists have developed a technique for threading silver into clothing fibers that could open the door to new lines of wearable medical sensors and other consumer electronics.
Researchers with the National Physical Laboratory, the National Measurement Institute of the U.K., said the new method could make integrating electronics into all types of clothing simple and practical, and has many potential applications in health, medicine, consumer electronics, sports, and fashion.
"The technique has many potential applications," said project leader Chris Hunt. "One particularly exciting area is wearable sensors and antennas which could be used for monitoring, for example checking on patients and vulnerable people; data capture and feedback for soldiers in the field; and performance monitoring in sports.
"It offers particular benefits over the 'weaving in' approach, as the conductive pattern and flexibility ensures that sensors are always positioned in the same location on the body."
Hunt said the technique could also create opportunities in fashion and consumer technology, such as incorporating LED lighting into clothing or having touch-screens on shirt sleeves. In addition, silver’s antibacterial properties make it idea for use in wound dressings, face masks, long lasting anti-bacterial wipes, and military clothing.
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