The main factor that inhibits the development of viable biosensors for health monitoring is the lack of light and long-lasting power supply. Now scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by Trisha L. Andrew, a chemist for chemicals, have reported that they have developed a method for producing a filling system that can be easily integrated into clothing for "embroidery pattern of storage on any clothing".
As Andrew explains, "batteries and other types of charging are still border components for most portable, workable, complex or customizable technologies. Devices are usually a combination of too big, too large and not flexible."
Their new method uses a micro-supercapacitor and combines the conductive threads with a polymer film with steam colored and a special sewing technique to create a flexible mesh of matched electrodes on a textile base. The resulting solid device has high capacity to store filling in its size and other features that enable it to carry biosensors.
Andrew adds that while researchers extraordinarily miniaturizes many different components of an electronic circuit, so far it has not been possible to say the same for storage devices. "With this document, we say that we can literally take a sample to store stuffing on any clothing used by laboratories that process it by steam, which opens the door for easy sewing circuits on self-contained smart clothing." Details are available online in ACS Materials and interfaces used.
Andrew and the postdoctoral researcher and first author Lushuai Zhang, plus Wesley Viola chemical engineer, point out that supercapacitors are the ideal candidates for wearable storage bottles because they have a higher power density compared to batteries.
But "the inclusion of electrochemically active materials with high electrical conductivity and rapid transport of ions in textiles is a challenge," they add. Andrew and his co-workers show that the process of volatile gases production creates porous conductive polymer films on dense intertwined yarns that can be easily charged with electrolyte ions and maintain high charging capacity per unit compared to the previous part with dyed or extruded fibers.
Andrew, who directs Wearable Electronics Laboratory in UMass Amherst, notes that textile scientists were no longer using vapor deposition due to technical problems and high costs, but research has recently shown that technology can increase and remain cost-effective.
She and her team are currently collaborating with others at the UMass Amherst Institute of Applied Life Sciences "Personalized Health Monitoring Center to integrate new embroidered filling sets with e-textile sensors and small microprocessors for the production of smart clothing that can accompany walking and movement of joints in normal day.
Flexible batteries provide the future of wearable technology
Lushuai Zhang et al., High energy density, Super-deformable, Garment-integrated Microsupercapacitors for the wearable electronics, Used ACS materials and interfaces (2018). DOI: 10.1021 / acsami.8b08408