Screen Printing - April/May 2018 - 21
DuPont Advanced Materials, a high-volume supplier of
electronic inks and compatible substrates for printed electronics,
recently introduced Intexar smart-clothing technology that uses
stretchable conductive inks printed on film to transform ordinary
fabrics into active, connected, intelligent garments. Intexar is
embedded directly onto fabric using standard apparel manufacturing processes to create thin, form-fitting circuits. Garments
powered by Intexar can reportedly withstand more than 100
washes and continue to perform through repeated stretching and
demanding performance. Sportswear with Intexar technology
can provide critical biometric data including heart rate, breathing
rate, form awareness, and muscle tension.
DuPont showcased various examples of Intexar smart clothing at the 4th Wearable Expo in Tokyo in January. BodyPlus
displayed smart fitness tops, an outdoor team training shirt,
and a smart vest for the wellness market. OMsignal displayed
a high-end fitness sports bra that uses Intexar technology to
capture real time electrocardiography, respiration, and physical
activity. Stephane Marceau, OMsignal's CEO, has said that he
believes Intexar technology can enable multiple applications
beyond athletic apparel that could enable the company to make
smart clothing mainstream.
Manufacturers of outdoor apparel are using Intexar to create
a comfortable warmth for the wearer. When integrated into
clothing worn by outdoor enthusiasts and industrial workers,
the technology can improve comfort, focus, and performance
in very cold environments. "Our team worked hard to develop
a heater that feels like fabric and doesn't rely on cables, thick
wires, or big batteries," says Michael Burrows, global business
manager of DuPont Advanced Materials. Formosa Taffeta Co.
(FTC) is one company using Intexar as part of its Permawarm
line of quick thermal-insulation fabrics, which provide clothing
brands with a complete garment heating system, including the
heater, connectors, and control software.
Automotive interiors are another developing application for Intexar technology. At the 4th Wearable Expo, the
automotive components company INOAC showed a heating
module that could be used in car interiors.
Myant is a Toronto-based company with a very ambitious
mission: to create a digital human presence through a textile
ambient interface that would connect every human being to
self, others, and artificial intelligence. Myant's textiles are
designed to provide a bidirectional connection between our
bodies and the world around us. At CES 2018 (formerly The
International Consumer Electronics Show) in January, Myant
introduced its Skiin smart clothing platform. Like a second
skin, this new textile computing platform can read, record,
analyze, and respond to the wearer's needs. The company's
first Skiin products - smart underwear and bras - have six
sensors that allow the wearers to track daily activity, sleep,
and stress levels and connect their bodies to other smart IoT
devices. Skiin is designed to be comfortable, washable, and
suitable for integration in everyday clothing.
"By simply wearing Skiin Garments, your Nest thermostat
will adjust to your temperature, your Philips Hue lights will
change according to your mood, and your smart lock will
unlock according to your unique biometric signature," says
Tony Chahine, Myant founder and CEO. "Or, a calming Spotify
playlist will come on when you're stressed." Myant's end-to-end
smart-textile supply chain includes a state-of-the-art 3D digital
fabrication and robotic knitting division, a printed electronics
lab, and a traditional cut-and-sew operation.
Xenoma has developed "e-skin" smart apparel technology
for gaming, sports and fitness, and healthcare. Their e-skin
polyester/Spandex shirt feels like a typical compression shirt
and can be washed more than 100 times. Fourteen sensors on
the outer surface of the shirt can monitor the user's motion
and transmit data through the e-skin Hub, a centralized
controller that connects via Bluetooth to a laptop, PC, smartphone, or tablet. The Hub also has a USB port for recharging.
Xenoma's Printed Circuit Fabric allows stretchable wires
and sensors to be integrated into traditional textiles. The
e-skin wearable circuit can endure high-strain rates caused by
movements such as putting on and taking off the garment. The
fabric can be used to create apparel for monitoring infants or
uniforms that can monitor worker health and safety. At CES
2018, Xenoma showed smart pajamas that hospitals could use
to monitor the movements of dementia patients.
The Xenoma smart e-skin
compression shirt for VR
gaming can turn your body
into a controller for virtualreality games and experiences.
The shirt has 14 strategically
placed sensors woven into the
front and back of the shirt. The
shirt's Bluetooth connectivity
allows the wearer to connect
to virtual-reality and mixedreality headsets. E-skin smart
apparel technology can also be
configured for sports, fitness,
and healthcare applications.
(Courtesy of Xenoma.)
april / may 2018