Wearable displays shaped like clothes

1 min read

Highly efficient, light-emitting clothes that can be commercialised have been developed by a research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. The discovery could enable applications in augmented reality, rescue and safety, healthcare and the automotive industry.

According to the team, it used two different approaches, fabric-type and fibre-type, to realise clothing-shaped wearable displays. First, the team successfully laminated a thin planarisation sheet thermally onto fabric to form a surface that is compatible with OLEDs 200nm thick.

The team also developed a dip-coating method it claims can uniformly depositing layers, to develop polymer LEDs which show high luminance even on thin fabric.

Using an organic and inorganic encapsulation technology, the wearable device is said to facilitate the operation of OLEDs even at a bending radius of 2mm.

"Having wavy structures and empty spaces, fibre plays a significant role in lowering the mechanical stress on the OLEDs," said Professor Kyung Cheol Choi.

"Screen displayed on our daily clothing is no longer a future technology. Light-emitting clothes will have considerable influence on not only the e-textile industry but also the automobile and healthcare industries."

"A clothing-type emitting device could be used for wound healing, skin care, and checking of blood flow rate," explained researcher Seung Yop Choi. "Light has various therapeutic effects on a brain and skin, thus a wearable emitting device using the fabric-based OLED can be applied to many portable healthcare devices."

The resarchers believe their fabric-based OLEDs show the highest luminance and efficiency to date while maintaining the flexibility of the fabric.