We’re here to set the record straight and look at how clothing and computing are about to evolve thanks to the introduction of these technologies.
What is an “E-textile”?
There are several definitions for “e-textile” in the world today. The terms stands for “electronic textile” or “electronically integrated textile.” Most definitions touch on the following qualities:
- Electronic textiles combine traditional fabrics and fibers with electronics.
- E-textiles enable the transfer of data, including sensor data on heat, light, movement, and other local conditions.
- Electronically integrated textiles are designed primarily with wearable computing in mind, but there are many other applications.
Other definitions look at this concept from a slightly different angle: An e-textile is a circuit that is designed specifically for integration with a textile product.
Ubiquitous and wearable computing has long been a technologist’s dream. But where else are e-textiles proving useful? Current applications include health care devices, interior design, automotive interiors, commercial banners and signage, running apparel and outdoor gear.
There are two main types of e-textiles:
- Embedded e-textiles have their electronic components woven together with the fabric components. This type is more like a textile product than an electronic product.
- Laminated e-textiles have their circuitry printed onto a non-textile material which is then bonded or sewn to the surface of a textile. This type may more closely resemble an electronic product than a textile product.