UMass Amherst materials scientists have developed a method for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into clothing for 'embroidering a charge-storing pattern onto any garment'
A major factor holding back development of wearable biosensors for health monitoring is the lack of a lightweight, long-lasting power supply.
Now scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by materials chemist Trisha L. Andrew report that they have developed a method for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into clothing for "embroidering a charge-storing pattern onto any garment."
As Andrew explains, "Batteries or other kinds of charge storage are still the limiting components for most portable, wearable, ingestible or flexible technologies. The devices tend to be some combination of too large, too heavy and not flexible."
Their new method uses a micro-supercapacitor and combines vapor-coated conductive threads with a polymer film, plus a special sewing technique to create a flexible mesh of aligned electrodes on a textile backing.
The resulting solid-state device has a high ability to store charge for its size, and other characteristics that allow it to power wearable biosensors.
Andrew adds that while researchers have remarkably miniaturized many different electronic circuit components, until now the same could not be said for charge-storing devices.
"With this paper, we show that we can literally embroider a charge-storing pattern onto any garment using the vapor-coated threads that our lab makes. This opens the door for simply sewing circuits on self-powered smart garments." Details appear online in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Andrew and postdoctoral researcher and first author Lushuai Zhang, plus chemical engineering graduate student Wesley Viola, point out that supercapacitors are ideal candidates for wearable charge storage circuits because they have inherently higher power densities compared to batteries.
But "incorporating electrochemically active materials with high electrical conductivities and rapid ion transport into textiles is challenging," they add. Andrew and colleagues show that their vapor coating process creates porous conducting polymer films on densely-twisted yarns, which can be easily swelled with electrolyte ions and maintain high charge storage capacity per unit length as compared to prior work with dyed or extruded fibers.
Andrew, who directs the Wearable Electronics Lab at UMass Amherst, notes that textile scientists have tended not to use vapor deposition because of technical difficulties and high costs, but more recently, research has shown that the technology can be scaled up and remain cost-effective.
She and her team are currently working with others at the UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Sciences' Personalized Health Monitoring Center on incorporating the new embroidered charge-storage arrays with e-textile sensors and low-power microprocessors to build smart garments that can monitor a person's gait and joint movements throughout a normal day.
Janet Lathrop | EurekAlert!
Large-scale window material developed for PM2.5 capture and light tuning
18.02.2019 | University of Science and Technology of China
Engineered metasurfaces reflect waves in unusual directions
18.02.2019 | Aalto University
Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.
The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
21.02.2019 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2019 | Trade Fair News
21.02.2019 | Life Sciences