Smart textiles are able to sense and respond to changes in their environment, providing the wearer with increased functionality.
Smart textiles are mainly applied in safety and protection fields, in technical textiles, workwear, medical assistive products (e.g. monitoring of elderly), and wearables (rehabilitation, fitness and sports).
A smart textile product is composed of four elements:
- communication paths
- a data processor
- a power source
The challenge is their integration in textiles. Unfortunately, the current state-of-the-art solutions do not fully respond to all needs, especially in the field of creating seamless and non-obstructive connections and encapsulations of electronic modules in textiles.
The Smart³D project aims to fill the gaps (connections & encapsulations) that are presently limiting the integration of electronics in textiles. A combination of additive manufacturing & novel moulding techniques will be used for prototyping & small production runs.
3D printing is an ideal tool to develop alternative strategies to integrate connections & encapsulation in textiles.