Friday, January 7, 2011

No. 226: Electricity-conducting cloth with the possibility of photovoltaic generation (January 8, 2011)

A researcher in National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and a researcher in Beans Laboratory jointly developed a new type of electricity-conducting cloth in alliance with Furukawa Electric and Toshiba Machine. They wove textile threads on which conductive materials were applied thinly. The cloth becomes a sensor to detect the contact of hand or body if weak electricity flows in it. If the cloth is used for a bed sheet, it will be helpful to know the conditions of the aged on the bed. If it is used for part of clothes, it can be an input keyboard or antenna for the mobile terminal. They applied conductive general-purpose material and nonconductive fluorine resin on the surface of a standard nylon thread of about 0.5 mm in diameter to create an electricity-conducting cloth that is 1 m long and 3 m wide using the self-developed microfabrication device. When electricity flows in it and a hand is put on it, the size of electricity between threads changes to show the part and amount of the applied strength. If it is woven in the microstructure like a circuit, it is possible to incorporate the function of photovoltaic generation in the cloth. The two researchers plan to put the new technology into practical use in a few years.

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