Electronic textiles (e-textiles) are fabrics made from yarns that carry electronic components says Kunal Singha.

 

1. Introduction

We can say that electronic textiles (e-textiles) are fabrics that have electronics and interconnections woven into them. Components and interconnections are intrinsic to the fabric. The most convenient point is that not only having "wearable" capabilities like any other garment, but also to have local monitoring and computation, as well as wireless communication capabilities. The sensors and simple computational elements are embedded in e-textiles, as well as built into yarns, with the goal of gathering sensitive information, monitoring vital statistics, and sending them remotely (possibly over a wireless channel) for further processing.

 

1. Concepts of Electronic-Textiles

Electronic textiles (e-textiles) have evolved from the concept of wearable computers. The wearable electronics and electronic textiles lie at the two ends of a spectrum that ranges from added-on electronics to components integrated with textile yarn to true integration. A first-generation wearable computer system is wearable, it is not integrated into the clothing of the user but in the second generation of wearable computing, the system is surface mounted on clothing in a hybrid package.

 

More recently researchers had developed a third generation of wearable electronics where the electronic and the clothing functions are equally important and both the dress and the necklace meet clothing and esthetic functions and they carry lighting and sensing functions.

 

1.1 Integration of Electronics textiles at yarn level

E-textiles represent integration at the yarn level. E-yarns are used to make functional circuits, and are made functional by weaving. This approach is illustrated in Fig.1. The weft yarn of this fabric is silk wound with copper foil. This is an example of hybrid electronics at the yarn level. The wearable electronics follow the microprocessor model and E-textiles are hybridized with silicon integrated circuits.

Figure 1. Integration of Electronics at yarn level