The trend in smart textiles is towards incorporating integrated functionality. Elements such as integrated circuits, sensors, light sources, batteries and small computers are already a reality and their seamless integration will help smart textiles gain wider acceptance.
Today’s electronics are evolving towards flexible solutions in a variety of forms, moving away from the typical square rigid printed circuit boards. Flexible and even stretchable substrates that can be bent or stretched to some extent are now a reality, making them easier to incorporate into products and articles in ways that were impossible previously. Smart textiles now have a real chance as they can achieve higher levels of functionality without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Huge advances have been made in recent years with flexible electronic solutions, with the emergence of specific materials such as conductive, resistive, dielectric, electroluminescent or semiconducting inks. Complex overlays of these materials, with specific designs and patterns, has made it possible to create tiny sensors and components for specific functions, such as electrodes, pressure sensors, humidity sensors, temperature sensors or small printed circuits.
However, although the manufacturing processes for flexible electronics have advanced enormously, the level of integration or downsizing of circuits is limited by the technologies used. In this respect, traditional technologies such as silicon electronics, which have been around for nearly 60 years, have advantages. This technology allows high levels of integration, which, in addition to reducing size, offers lower energy consumption in operation, as well as incorporating greater functionalities.
Hybrid electronics combines the best of both worlds. On the one hand, flexibility and adaptability to the elements to a specific part of the garment where it needs to be incorporated and, on the other hand, high processing power with minimum energy consumption. In this sense, the HYBRID project aims to continue garnering knowledge on the application of electronic inks with organic materials on flexible and stretchable substrates incorporating miniaturised silicon components.
The stated objective of the project is the research and development of hybrid electronic solutions combining printed circuit boards and silicon integrated components for textile applications.
In this project, functional flexible structures printed with different technologies will be developed to demonstrator level.
Part of the objectives are aimed at creating advanced biosensors that can detect temperature, humidity and toxic substances that can be integrated into textiles.
The expected results will be the design and development of flexible electronic circuits for screen and inkjet printing, with integrated silicon components, and to define the required processes for their integration into textiles.
High levels of integration are expected to be achieved through encapsulation and lamination techniques, additive printing and stretchable circuits.
On the other hand, at the knowledge transfer level, a segmented analysis of the markets and products likely to benefit from these new technologies will be carried out. In addition, the technical requirements will be identified to determine the critical aspects to be addressed.
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.
- Grant number: IMAMCI/2021/1
- More information: NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Year: 2021
- Status: In progress
- Entity: IVACE