Researchers at MIT have demonstrated how it was possible to embed and connect high speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices, including LEDs and diode photodetectors impermeably within polymer fibers as they are extruded to create “smart fabrics.”
Detailing their technique in a Nature paper titled “Diode fibers for fabric-based optical communications“, the researchers started with a polymer fiber preform whose bulk contained hundreds of micro-sized LEDs, alongside hollow channels through which they fed copper or tungsten wires as the preform was heated up and drawn into thin fibres.
Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have developed a new fabrication method that makes tiny, thin-film electronic circuits peelable from a surface, which could enable a cost-effective way of controlling lareg-scale IoT devices.
The technique not only eliminates several manufacturing steps and the associated costs, but also allows any object to sense its environment or be controlled through the application of a high-tech sticker.
“We could customize a sensor, stick it onto a drone, and send the drone to dangerous areas to detect gas leaks, for example,” said Chi Hwan Lee, Purdue assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.