Wearables are intelligent electronic devices that the human being uses and that interact with other devices to transmit or collect data.In Spain the most popular are the watches and bracelets of activity, but there are many more.In fact, the future of this industry goes through smart clothes and, specifically, through a new lycra thread capable of generating energy and detecting the temperature.
Some researchers from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have developed a multipurpose material that is capable of collecting energy, detecting temperature and exercising as a sensor to measure tension.This new material could be used mainly for devices that control users' health, including clothing.
At present, laptops have limited mechanical flexibility and require a battery to work.Something that is about to change.The researchers discovered that the lycra threads available in the market, a material that is frequently used in clothing, can be modified to show thermoelectricity and sensitivity to deformation.
Electricity and temperature
The researchers discovered that by submerging Lycra threads in a solution containing pedot: PSS or poly (3.4-ethylendioxytiophen) -Poli (sulfonate stretch), a copolymer resulting from the mixture of two ionomers;These acquired sensitivity to deformation and thermoelectric properties, that is, electrical conductivity to the material, as explained by the report published in The Royal Society.
As a result, a thread is obtained that can be knitted in the clothes and that provides several functions, including energy generation to load devices, temperature detection and measurement of mechanical tension, which refers to themechanical load that the muscle supports.
It can also generate electricity to load other devices.Omicrono
During the investigation, it was discovered that by threading large amounts of tension, the formation of cracks was caused throughout the copolymer, which increase the total area of the threads and give this new material the ability to measure deformation and a high sensitivity.Therefore, thus obtains its ability to calculate the tension.
The thread can also measure the temperature based on thermoelectricity.To do this, you can only detect the temperature differences of an object or the environment in relation to the hand.In this way, temperature gradients generate a voltage difference due to the thermoelectric effect, which can be used to generate electricity without the need for a battery.
In fact, for their tests the researchers sewed the lycra threads in a glove, which they used to collect temporal energy and to measure the tension.Due to the small temperature differences between the hand and the environment -which was around 10ºC -calculated that a glove with 1.800 strands of this thread could collect enough energy to turn on an electronic device.
One of the most interesting applications that this new thread has is its high potential to prevent diseases.For example, a user could dress with smart clothes made of this material, such as a shirt, capable of controlling temperature, stress and general movement.Some data that could receive artificial intelligence (AI) to detect any health problem, such as dementia or Alzheimer's, allow the patient to act with time.
The material could also be used to measure the tension of a glove, which would help the creation of self -amplified portable devices where, for example, the position of the hand and its temperature could be measured autonomously.Dr. Emiliano Bilotti participated in the investigation together with collaborators from Queen Mary University and Imperial College in London, and were supported by the Technological University of Eindhoven and the University of Loughborough.