Our Intelligence channels offer market intelligence, technical reports and deep-dive analysis of key industry motivators, technologies, materials and impactors. WTiN Intelligence provides detailed analysis of important high-growth areas of the textile and apparel industry. WTiN’s expert team of analysts and network of researchers go beyond the what and the why to look at what might come next, what businesses need to contend with in an evolving global supply chain, and how they can take advantage of the opportunities on the horizon.
Market and technical intelligence essential to the activewear and athleisure textile and clothing industries.
By Jessica Owen
In-depth intelligence on the materials, manufacturing technologies and application areas of smart textiles.
By Victoria Nickerson
By Jessica Owen
Providing investors and decision makers in the textile and apparel value chain with in-depth analysis and insight into the digitalisation of manufacturing processes and smart business models.
By Madelaine Thomas
Our WTiNews channels take a look at global textile and apparel industry innovation, businesses, technology and markets, provided by WTiN’s in-house team of journalists. WTiNews is set apart from basic news content as it discerns the importance of changes and developments in the supply chain. WTiNews doesn’t only tell you ‘what’ has happened, it also covers impact, the bigger picture and the industry’s response to trends, events and more.
A viewpoint on both natural and manmade fibres and yarns, as seen through the eyes of manufacturers, growers, processors and spinners, with a mix of technical articles, analysis and product innovation news.
By Paul Deane
By Nitin Madkaikar
News, analysis and technical information on the important realms of dyeing, finishing, printing (both screen and digital) and coating.
News, market insight, analysis and product development updates from the fast-growing markets in technical textiles, covering all applications and end uses.
Unrivalled coverage of the manufacture and uses of engineered polymer and fibre ‘non-textile’ products.
Nonwovens Report International (NRI) keeps you up-to-date with the latest developments across the nonwovens market. With its team of technical and industry experts, NRI makes use of its close ties with associations, research institutes and market-leading businesses to bring you international reporting that covers areas all over the world.
Previously known as IoTex, the newly relaunched Textile 4.0 journal delivers vital insights into the burgeoning transformation of the textile and apparel value chain. It covers a spectrum of content, from technologies enabling the personalisation trend to supply chain transparency, the latest in fabric gripping robotics, smart clothing and much more.
Powercast and Liquid X have collaborated on a printed electronics venture to enable durable, washable e-textiles that seal in wireless charging electronics. Maria Singer from Powercast tells Fiona Haran more about it.
When it comes to e-textiles, partnerships are a sure-fire way to fuel innovation. Through this route, companies and individuals can pool their knowledge and expertise to solve challenges and support the scale-up and commercialisation of products.
A recent collaboration we heard about was between US companies Powercast and Liquid X – the former being a leader in radio-frequency (RF)-based long-range, over-the-air wireless power technology, and the latter an advanced manufacturer of functional metallic inks with prototype-to-production design and manufacturing capabilities. Together, they have developed printed electronics to enable durable, washable e-textiles that seal in wireless charging electrons. Utilising Liquid X’s proprietary ink technology, manufacturers can print circuitry directly onto a garment, add Powercast’s wireless power technology and a battery, and seal this all into the garment during the manufacturing process.
Explaining how the partnership came about, Maria Singer, marketing and sales manager, Powercast Corporation, says: “Liquid X’s prototyping capabilities in the printed electronics field were particularly attractive to us for a project we were working on last year, and their location just a short drive from our headquarters in Pittsburgh was an added bonus.
“In November at the IDTechEx show in Santa Clara, California, we stopped by Liquid X’s booth where they were showcasing a wirelessly powered illuminated garment that they had developed independently using our Powerharvester chips and wireless power transmitter,” she continues. “We were seriously impressed with their prototype and its performance, so we decided to team up for CES 2020 to enhance the garment and showcase their innovation in bringing wireless power into the e-textiles world.”
The garment took the form of a smart athletic shirt prototype that illuminates using printed electronics, embedded power harvesting technology, and LEDs powered over the air up to 10 ft away from the wireless transmitter.
The response to the collaboration was very positive. “Printed electronics manufacturers and smart wearables companies showed a lot of interest in the innovation at CES 2020,” Singer says. “Specifically, we had increased traffic from smart athletic wear and advanced medical wearables companies interested in integrating sensors, BLE communication, and movement monitoring directly into their garments rather than as an add-on.”
E-textiles is an ‘exciting new market’ for Powercast, having spent the past 15 years bringing wireless power solutions to a range of industrial and commercial sensor devices. This recent development demonstrates the company’s expansion into the consumer space.
Together with Liquid X, the company’s goal is to enable cost-effective manufacturing of durable e-textiles, with battery-powered features such as health and wellness, movement monitoring, or LED-based illumination embedded directly into garments, that consumers can conveniently recharge over the air and wash, without having to remove a battery pack.
Such products are expected to meet a growing need we’re currently seeing for remote health monitoring – something that the coronavirus pandemic has shone a spotlight on.
“Healthcare is as important as ever right now, and if anything, this crisis will push advancements in healthcare technology to the forefront so that we are better prepared when the next crisis occurs,” says Singer.
“With lessons learned about the importance of physical distancing, there is a great opportunity to enable more remote health monitoring using wireless power technology.”
Of course, the capturing of such data often raises concerns over the security of users’ personal details. However, Singer explains that Powercast’s technology is designed to prevent potential data breaches, as well as risks to public health.
“Powercast’s wireless power solutions do not require sophisticated data transfer in order for charging to take place,” she says. “If RF wireless power is available, an enabled device will automatically connect and be wirelessly recharged – similar to solar power. So, there are no data security issues.
“Additionally, our transmitters are all FCC and ISED-approved, meaning that they follow the health and safety guidelines put in place by those regulatory bodies.”
The fact that the two companies’ technologies are complementary helped to alleviate any challenges that were encountered in the development of their smart wearables, according to Singer. “Liquid X took on the initial development process independently of Powercast,” she says. “When compared to Powercast’s typical reference designs, Liquid X had to increase the spacing of the traces to account for any ‘bleed’ of the ink since it was applied to fabric rather than a typical PCB [printed circuit board]. Liquid X also chose smaller profile LEDs than Powercast typically uses to enable more seamless integration into garments and other textiles.”
Today’s smart garments often snap electronics onto the garment along with battery packs that users must detach before washing. With the combined technologies of Liquid X and Powercast, now manufacturers can integrate the electronics directly into the garment. First, circuitry is printed on the fabric using Liquid X’s proprietary particle-free ink, including Powercast’s RF wireless-receiving antenna. Next, Powercast’s Powerharvester RF wireless power receiver chip, a battery, and other components are mounted onto the printed traces. Finally, an encapsulant provides a high-strength waterproof bond to seal in the electronics.
To recharge the battery, consumers simply place a Powercast RF transmitter in the closet or drawer where they store their smart wearable. It transmits RF energy over the air to the RF receiver embedded in the wearable, which then converts it to direct current (DC) to charge the battery.
The partners’ next step is to continue to spread the word about their technology, “educating garment manufacturers that they can indeed seal battery-powered features into washable e-textiles,” says Singer.
“We plan to continue demonstrating how our joint technologies will allow garment manufacturers to integrate wireless charging functionality directly into their garments during the manufacturing process, rather than adding it afterwards,” she adds.
“Our goal is to partner with wearables makers to enhance their products by using Liquid X’s proprietary inks and Powercast’s wireless power technology. Wearables are the next stop on our mission to bring real, safe wireless power solutions to the world.”
Have your say. Tweet and follow us @WTiNcomment
Keywords relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the keyword to see the relevance (0 low relevance, 1 high relevance) and click a keyword to open a search for more related content.
Entity breakdown of article being analysed. The chart shows entities (companies, organisations, people, locations, regions and technologies) that are referenced in the article. Hover over an entity to see how relevant it is in the article (0 low relevance, 1 high relevance) and click an entity to open a search for more related content.
Concepts relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the main nodes to see the concept name and relevance. Click the concepts to see the relevant dpedia.com link. The child nodes from each concept are the most relevant other articles on wtin.com to that concept. Click these to open the article and hover over to see the article name and relevance to that concept. Relevance values are 0 to 1 with 1 being of most relevance.
Concepts relating to the article being analysed. Hover over the main nodes to see the concept name and relevance. Click the concepts to see the relevant dpedia.com link. The child nodes from each concept are the most influencing companies, organisations and people to that concept. Click these to open the a search to find more content related to that influencer. Influencer nodes are sized by how much influence they have on the concept they are linked to.
Your subscription doesn’t allow access to this content. You’re just minutes away from adding this content to your subscription.