Imagine having a keypad in the sleeve of your jacket, or even a mobile phone built into your tie to make telephone calls.
Well, soon you will thanks to The ElectroTextiles Company, whose new product, ElectroTextiles, is a technology that ushers in the age of truly smart fabrics.
In the manufacturing process, minute conductive fibres are woven or knitted together with traditional fibres to produce a range of new fabrics which are touch and pressure sensitive while conforming to almost any 3 dimensional shape. The conductive fibres are fully compatible with the functionality of the base material, giving the feel and look of a perfectly normal fabric.
Microelectronic devices are then linked with the fabric to provide an array of ‘digital’ and ‘analogue’ functions ranging from mouse input for computers, remote warning signals, and guidance and control.
Fabrics are currently produced in partnership with specialist manufacturing companies in the UK and Italy. A new facility to integrate fabrics and electronics will enable the company to provide complete sub-assemblies for customers to include in the final product.
The company has recently won a £2m investment from 3i Group, Europe’s leading venture capital company.