Research
Functional wearables

A new ultra-thin, stretchable electronic material could be a game changer for wearable tech


A new ultra-thin, stretchable electronic material that allows a product to “breathe” could have the potential to help create more functional wearable tech.

Created by a team of engineering researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU), the as-yet-unnamed material combines a stretchable polymer film with silver nanowires, making it flexible but highly conductive.

Allows sweat to evaporate
Being gas permeable, the material allows sweat and organic compounds to evaporate from the skin – making it more comfortable for users, especially for long-term wear.

Designed specifically to be used in wearable tech solutions, the product is only a few micrometers thick – allowing for better contact with the skin and giving the electronics a better “signal-to-noise ratio”.

“The resulting film shows an excellent combination of electric conductivity, optical transmittance and water-vapor permeability,” said Yong Zhu, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NCSU.

“The gas permeability is the big advance over earlier stretchable electronics – and because the silver nanowires are embedded just below the surface of the polymer, the material also exhibits excellent stability in the presence of sweat and after long-term wear.”

To demonstrate its potential for use in wearables, researchers tested prototypes for two representative applications:

The first prototype consisted of skin-mountable, dry electrodes for use as electrophysiologic sensors. These have multiple potential applications, such as measuring electrocardiography (ECG) and electromyography (EMG) signals.

“The sensors were able to record signals with excellent quality, on a par with commercially available electrodes,” Zhu says.

Human:machine interface
The second prototype demonstrated textile-integrated touch-sensing for human-machine interfaces. The authors used a wearable textile sleeve integrated with the porous electrodes to play computer games, such as Tetris.

“If we want to develop wearable sensors or user interfaces that can be worn for a significant period of time, we need gas-permeable electronic materials,” Zhu added. “So this is a significant step forward.”

Find out more: FitTechglobal.com/breathe

The as-yet-unnamed material combines a stretchable polymer film with silver nanowires, making it flexible but highly conductive (above)
 


CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2020

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
24 Nov 2020 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
HOME
JOBS
NEWS
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine

Features List



SELECTED ISSUE
Fit Tech
2020 issue 2

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Functional wearables

Research

Functional wearables


A new ultra-thin, stretchable electronic material could be a game changer for wearable tech

Could ‘breathable’ electronics pave the way for the next generation of wearable tech?
The as-yet-unnamed material combines a stretchable polymer film with silver nanowires, making it flexible but highly conductive (above)

A new ultra-thin, stretchable electronic material that allows a product to “breathe” could have the potential to help create more functional wearable tech.

Created by a team of engineering researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU), the as-yet-unnamed material combines a stretchable polymer film with silver nanowires, making it flexible but highly conductive.

Allows sweat to evaporate
Being gas permeable, the material allows sweat and organic compounds to evaporate from the skin – making it more comfortable for users, especially for long-term wear.

Designed specifically to be used in wearable tech solutions, the product is only a few micrometers thick – allowing for better contact with the skin and giving the electronics a better “signal-to-noise ratio”.

“The resulting film shows an excellent combination of electric conductivity, optical transmittance and water-vapor permeability,” said Yong Zhu, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NCSU.

“The gas permeability is the big advance over earlier stretchable electronics – and because the silver nanowires are embedded just below the surface of the polymer, the material also exhibits excellent stability in the presence of sweat and after long-term wear.”

To demonstrate its potential for use in wearables, researchers tested prototypes for two representative applications:

The first prototype consisted of skin-mountable, dry electrodes for use as electrophysiologic sensors. These have multiple potential applications, such as measuring electrocardiography (ECG) and electromyography (EMG) signals.

“The sensors were able to record signals with excellent quality, on a par with commercially available electrodes,” Zhu says.

Human:machine interface
The second prototype demonstrated textile-integrated touch-sensing for human-machine interfaces. The authors used a wearable textile sleeve integrated with the porous electrodes to play computer games, such as Tetris.

“If we want to develop wearable sensors or user interfaces that can be worn for a significant period of time, we need gas-permeable electronic materials,” Zhu added. “So this is a significant step forward.”

Find out more: FitTechglobal.com/breathe


Originally published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd