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Powercast and Liquid X announce e-textiles venture

A new venture is looking to print wireless charging electronics directly onto smart wearables.

Powercast, a specialist in RF-based long-range over-the-air wireless power technology, and Liquid X, a manufacturer of functional metallic inks have announced a venture to enable garment manufacturers to easily integrate wireless power functionality into durable, flexible, high performance and washable e-textiles.

By using Liquid X’s proprietary ink technology, manufacturers will be able to print circuitry directly onto an item of clothing, add Powercast’s wireless power technology and a battery, and seal it during the manufacturing process. The two companies are looking to enable a cost-effective manufacturing process for durable e-textiles, with battery-powered features such as health and wellness, movement monitoring, or LED-based illumination embedded directly into textiles, that consumers will then be able to recharge over the air, and wash, without having to remove a battery pack.

The process will see circuitry printed on the fabric using Liquid X’s particle-free ink, including Powercast’s RF wireless receiving antenna. Powercast’s Powerharvester RF wireless power receiver chip, a battery, and other components will then be mounted onto the printed traces. Finally, an encapsulant provides a high strength waterproof bond to seal in all of the electronics.

To recharge the battery, consumers will simply need to place a Powercast RF transmitter near to where they store their smart wearable. It transmits RF energy over the air to the RF receiver embedded in the wearable, which then converts it to direct current (DC) to charge the battery.

Neil Tyler

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