Like batteries, store a charge in your clothes

Washington: Scientists have developed a method that can allow fabrics to store charge, paving the way for self-powered smart garments that can monitor health in real time. A major factor holding back development of wearable biosensors for health monitoring is the lack of a lightweight, long-lasting power supply.

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US have developed a method for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into clothing for “embroidering a charge-storing pattern onto any garment.” “Batteries or other kinds of charge storage are still the limiting components for most portable, wearable, ingestible or flexible technologies. The devices tend to be some combination of too large, too heavy and not flexible,” said Trisha L Andrew.

The method uses a micro-supercapacitor and combines vapour-coated conductive threads with a polymer film, plus a special sewing technique to create a flexible mesh of aligned electrodes on a textile backing. The resulting solid-state device has a high ability to store charge for its size, and other characteristics that allow it to power wearable biosensors.

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