Nano technology will play the lead. Researchers at the North Carolina State University are working on ways to apply nano-coatings to cheap, flexible materials like textiles which have conventionally been applied and confined to inorganic materials like silicon, used for the construction of microelectronics.
It is intended to improve the cost efficiency and flexibility of the electronic devices, well suited for application in health monitoring mechanisms. This was justified by the statements of Dr. Jesse Jur, assistant professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science, and lead author of a paper describing the research.
We’re not expecting to make complex transistors with cotton, but there are simple electronic devices that could benefit by using the lightweight flexibility that some textile materials provide,” Jur explains.
Research like this has potential health and monitoring applications since we could potentially create a uniform with cloth sensors embedded in the actual material that could track heart rate, body temperature, movement and more in real time. To do this now, you would need to stick a bunch of wires throughout the fabric – which would make it bulky and uncomfortable.
The research has been recently published in the Advanced Functional Materials issue and is funded by the Department of energy and the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center.