Next Wearables Could Use Smart Fabric with Conductive Ink

Researchers in Tokyo have developed a way to print electrodes directly onto material, featuring highly conductive elastic ink that could be used to measure heart rates and report vital statistics. If researchers can make the technology robust and washable, then stretchable, sensor-loaded clothing could become a future trend in commercial wearables. Sportswear, for example, is one area that could benefit. Google’s Project Jacquard, NTT DoCoMo and chemical company Toray Industries are among those developing smart fabric technology.

“The Japanese researchers believe that clothing embedded with printed, flexible electronics is the next step in consumer electronics that have gone from tabletop computers to mobile devices to wearables such as the Apple Watch,” reports Computerworld.


Researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Science and Technology Agency have created an organic transistor amplifier circuit teamed with the conductive ink, which reportedly does not lose its conductivity when stretched.

“The new ink is made of silver flakes, organic solvent, fluorine rubber and fluorine surfactant,” explains Computerworld. “The surfactant allows the silver flakes to self-assemble on the surface of the printed ink, giving it high conductivity even when stretched to more than three times its original length.”

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