Researchers from the Tsinghua University in China are working on making wearable tech more user-friendly and less cumbersome by developing fabrics with electronic threads.
The new process developed by professor Yingying Zhang and her research team involves a one-step 3D printing process which is used to print flexible electronic fibers onto textiles.
She explains: “Generally, the attachment of rigid and bulky electronic on textile will deteriorate the breathability and flexibility of textiles, leading to a poor wearing comfort. One way to alleviate this problem is to develop flexible functional fibers in a textile.”
The team uses a 3D printer with a coaxial needle. The needle draws patterns onto fabric using core-sheath fibers and the textile can then turn movement into energy.