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Published on : Mar 26, 2019

Their ease of use has helped wearables become popular among tech and health savvy individuals lately. Researchers are working on enhancing the durability of wearables to sustain all kinds of environment. This has resulted in the development of smart clothing technology. The idea is to create a self-powered display module integrating wearable devices with textiles.

The New Washable Display Modules can Tackle Moisture Permeability

Professor Kyung Choi from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) developed a textile based self-powered wearable display module. To achieve this, he fabricated wearable display module on textiles that integrated polymer solar cells (PSCs) and OLEDs. The combination of PSCs and OLEDs offers a stable power source that is self-charged and can operate on milliwatts. The resultant display module integrated with textile was washable, thus making  it more user-friendly.

However, this device was prone to moisture permeability and could not withstand aqueous environment. Developing a washable encapsulation barrier was mandatory to combat this issue as the conventional barrier failed to offer this property. As a result, the researchers used atomic layer deposition (ALD) and spin coating to devise a new encapsulation barrier  This technology ensured that the device does not malfunction even after 20 washings. Further, it offered reliability and functioned optimally even at a low curvature radius of 3 millimeter. In addition to this, it did not lose its properties even when subjected to stress for 30 days.

Moreover, the new textile wearable device could save energy as it uses a less stressful textile. It is less vulnerable to mechanical stress as it does not use plastic substrates used in conventional wearable devices. Researchers believe that the new smart clothing technology will accelerate commercialization of wearable displays.