MIT Scientists Creates Clothes That Can Communicate Optically With Each Other

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has woven the technology into a smart clothe that can communicate optically with other devices. It is a pretty intersecting concept to think about, imagining that the clothes we human are wearing from last 780,000 years will be now a digital devise.

MIT Scientists manifest the electronics into soft fabrics. Scientists has embedded high-speed optoelectronic semiconductor device and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) within fibres making it possible to produce clothing that communicates optically with other device.

The project was led by MIT student Michael Rein and his research advisor/professor of materials science and electrical engineering at the university Yoel Fink. Rein hopes the innovation could spur what he calls a “Moore’s Law” of wearable technology. Moore’s Law has been the golden standard in electronics and is named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore who predicted massive industry changes for microchips.

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How does Scientists make this SMART FABRICS ?

1. Optical fibres have been traditionally produced by making a cylindrical object called a ‘preform’ — which is essentially a scaled-up model of the fibre — then heating it.

2. Softened material is then drawn or pulled down under tension and the resulting fibre is collected on a spool, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

3. The “breakthrough” for producing these new fibres was to add to the preform light-emitting semiconductor diodes the size of a grain of sand, and a pair of copper wires that are a fraction of a hair’s width.

4. When heated in a furnace during the fibre-drawing process, the polymer preform partially liquefied, forming a long fibre with the diodes lined-up along its centre and connected by the copper wires.

5. In this case, the solid components were two types of electrical diodes made using standard microchip technology: LEDs and photo-sensing diodes.

6. The resulting fibres were then woven into fabrics, which were laundered 10 times to demonstrate their practicality as possible material for clothing.

One of the biggest advantages to this smart fabrics is that it makes the fibers essentially waterproof. To demonstrate this, the team placed some of the photodetecting fibres inside a fish tank. A lamp outside of the tank played music through the water to the fibers in the form of quick optical signals. The fibers in the tank then converted those rapid light pulses into electrical signals and back into music.

Yoel Fink, a professor at MIT said “the initial applications of the fibers will be specialized products in the fields of safety and communications. It’s going to be the first fabric communication system. We are right now in the process of transitioning the technology to domestic manufacturers and industry at an unprecendented speed and scale.”

MIT Scientists stated that in addition to communications, the fibers also have important applications in the biomedical field. This fibers can be used to develop a wristband with the ability to measure pulse or blood oxygen levels, or a bandage for continuous monitoring of the healing process.

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When will the first product be in the market ?

“The first commercial products incorporating this technology will be reaching the marketplace as early as next year — an extraordinarily short progression from laboratory research to commercialisation,” said Yoel Fink.

Have a great day !

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