Pressure activated, Illuminated Fabric

illuminated-fabricOur next prototype introduction for the ‘Smart Textile Salon‘, a jointed European workshop organized by the European projects SysTex and Proetex comes from Riccardo Marchesi, Managing Director of InnTex, an Italian based textiles and textiles machinery company which is exploring the new area of Smart Textiles.

Riccardo will present the Pressure activated, Electroluminescent (EL) fabrics he is working on. The specialty of his eTextiles is the use of industrial knitting machines. During the knitting process EL yarns and stainless steel wires are incorporated into the fabric knitting. This process allows the production of larger quantities at relatively low cost.

The knitting machine inserts automatically the EL yarn along the wrap direction. Two side pockets at the edges of the fabric contains the pressure sensitive part where very thin stainless steel or copper wires are added during the knitting process. The two layers of conductive material are separated by a layer of polyester yarn creating a three dimensional knitted fabric.

A possible, sensible use for such fabric could be the production of escape route lightning systems. A floor covered with this smart fabrics could, in emergency cases or as guiding system in larger buildings, sense where people walk and in with direction to light up the part people will have to go next.

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