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Just swipe your finger on your wristband made from a new type of electronic textile (e-textile), according to a report in the “ACS Nano” journal published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Jiaona Wang, at the School of Materials Science & Engineering in Beijing and co-workers have developed the new type of e-textile that allows a person to control household appliances or computers from a distance simply by touching a wristband or other item of clothing, “something that could be particularly helpful for those with limited mobility”, the report says. E-textiles are not new, but most existing versions have poor air permeability, can’t be laundered or are too costly or complex to mass-produce, ACS said in a press release. “The self-powered E-textile developed by the researchers overcomes all of these limitations, is washable and highly sensitive to human touch.” According to the report, the researchers made a self-powered “triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG)” by depositing an electrode array of conductive carbon nanotubes on nylon fabric. Nanogenerator is a type of technology that converts mechanical energy — as produced by small-scale physical change — into electricity. Fabrics or fibers can be easily woven into textiles to manufacture TENGs for harvesting human mechanical energy The washable e-textile (WET) is mainly constructed of three layers. The top layer is silk fabric, serving as one frictional material; the bottom layer is nylon fabric, which is regarded as the substrate and the middle layer is the carbon nanotube (CNT) electrode array. To make the E-textile washable, the researchers incorporated polyurethane into the carbon nanotubes which made the nanotubes firmly adhere to the nylon fabric. They covered the array with a piece of silk and fashioned the textile into a wristband.
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