Engineers have created a scarf-shaped fabric that can be worn, folded and washed. In addition, it is a fully functional display. It is capable of playing messages or images, and even being used with a keyboard.
The authors of the development told about unique tissues in the journal Nature. The new material was created by a team of scientists led by Husheng Peng, a professor in the Department of High Molecular Engineering at Fudan University, Shanghai.
He believes that the development will revolutionize communication and “will help people who have problems with their voice, speech or the way to somehow express themselves and show others.”
“We hope that woven materials will shape the next generation of technology by changing the way we interact with electronic devices,” the author of the study said in an interview with Agence France Presse.
Wearable electronics have advanced in recent years. Garments with electronic functions are already available on the market, including ultra-thin displays.
But there are limitations for most of the existing products. The fact is that they are often made by attaching or weaving thin-film light-emitting devices to fabrics. As a result, a material is obtained that does not allow air to pass through or does not hold its shape.
In addition, such materials are fragile and easily susceptible to damage. Such devices displayed only predefined templates.
Peng and his colleagues have spent ten years pondering ways to improve existing technologies by experimenting with different materials.
One variant they developed didn’t display well in the dark.
The breakthrough came after studying the structure of textiles and how the threads intersect with each other at the back of a woven product.
The team decided to try and create tiny dots of light at the junction of the fabric fibers.
To create tiny points of light, scientists needed a luminescent base.
After testing various combinations, they settled on a silvered yarn base coated with a fluorescent composite.
Applying an electric current caused the layer on the silvered filament to glow in contact with the conductive gel fiber.
According to the authors, the power required to illuminate the display material is limited. As a result, this protected the fabric from heat and the display scarf withstood all stress tests.