Engineers at Purdue University have developed a method to transform existing cloth items into battery-free wearables resistant to laundry. These smart clothes are powered wirelessly through a flexible, silk-based coil sewn on the textile.
These smart materials have miniaturized electronic circuits and sensors, which will allow seamless communication with phones, computers, cars and other machines. They can also check on health status and even call for help in case of an accident.
At Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN/USA, a new spray/sewing method to transform any conventional cloth items into battery-free wearables that can be cleaned in the washing machine has been developed. By spray-coating smart clothes with highly hydrophobic molecules, it is possible to render them repellent to water, oil and mud. These smart clothes are almost impossible to stain and can be used underwater and washed in conventional washing machines without damaging the electronic components sewn on their surface.
Unlike common wearables, the Purdue smart clothes do not require batteries for powering. By simply harvesting energy from Wi-Fi or radio waves in the environment, the clothes are capable of powering the circuitry sewn on the textile.
This technology can be fabricated in conventional, large-scale sewing facilities.