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Self-powered, highly sensitive and washable e-textile

Most electronic textiles have poor air permeability, can't be laundered, or are too costly or complex to mass-produce.

Now, a team of researchers have developed an e-textile that they say is self-powered, highly sensitive and washable.

The hope is that this could allow for control of household appliance or computer from a distance, which would be helpful for those with limited mobility.

The researchers made a self-powered triboelectric nanogenerator by depositing an electrode array of conductive carbon nanotubes on nylon fabric. To make the e-textile washable, they incorporated polyurethane into the carbon nanotube ink, which made the nanotubes firmly adhere to the fabric. They covered the array with a piece of silk and fashioned the textile into a wristband.

When swiped with a finger in different patterns, the e-textile generated electrical signals that were coupled to computers to control programs, or to household objects to turn on lights, a fan or a microwave from across the room.

Bethan Grylls

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