Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clothing With A Brain: 'Smart Fabrics' That Monitor Health

Date:
December 10, 2008
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Researchers are reporting progress toward a simple, low-cost method to make "smart fabrics," electronic textiles capable of detecting diseases, monitoring heart rates, and other vital signs. These straight-out-of-science-fiction-fibers are made of carbon nanotubes.

Researchers have developed a cost-effective procedure of making disease-detecting wearable fabrics, "smart fabrics." Above are microscopic images of the E-fibers.
Credit: American Chemical Society

A carbon nanotube-coated "smart yarn" that conducts electricity could be woven into soft fabrics that detect blood and monitor health, engineers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated.

"Currently, smart textiles are made primarily of metallic or optical fibers. They're fragile. They're not comfortable. Metal fibers also corrode. There are problems with washing such electronic textiles. We have found a much simpler way---an elegant way---by combining two fibers, one natural and one created by nanotechnology," said Nicholas Kotov, a professor in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Kotov and Bongsup Shim, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, are among the co-authors of a paper on this material currently published online in Nano Letters.

To make these "e-textiles," the researchers dipped 1.5-millimeter thick cotton yarn into a solution of carbon nanotubes in water and then into a solution of a special sticky polymer in ethanol. After being dipped just a few times into both solutions and dried, the yarn was able to conduct enough power from a battery to illuminate a light-emitting diode device.

"This turns out to be very easy to do," Kotov said. "After just a few repetitions of the process, this normal cotton becomes a conductive material because carbon nanotubes are conductive."

The only perceptible change to the yarn is that it turned black, due to the carbon. It remained pliable and soft.

In order to put this conductivity to use, the researchers added the antibody anti-albumin to the carbon nanotube solution. Anti-albumin reacts with albumin, a protein found in blood. When the researchers exposed their anti-albumin-infused smart yarn to albumin, they found that the conductivity significantly increased. Their new material is more sensitive and selective as well as more simple and durable than other electronic textiles, Kotov said.

Clothing that can detect blood could be useful in high-risk professions, the researchers say. An unconscious firefighter, ambushed soldier, or police officer in an accident, for example, couldn't send a distress signal to a central command post. But the smart clothing would have this capability.

Kotov says a communication device such as a mobile phone could conceivably transmit information from the clothing to a central command post.

"The concept of electrically sensitive clothing made of carbon-nanotube-coated cotton is flexible in implementations and can be adapted for a variety of health monitoring tasks as well as high performance garments," Kotov said.

It is conceivable that clothes made out of this material could be designed to harvest energy or store it, providing power for small electronic devices, but such developments are many years away and pose difficult challenges, the engineers say.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shim et al. Smart Electronic Yarns and Wearable Fabrics for Human Biomonitoring made by Carbon Nanotube Coating with Polyelectrolytes. Nano Letters, 2008: 081201145306046 DOI: 10.1021/nl801495p

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Clothing With A Brain: 'Smart Fabrics' That Monitor Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208085058.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2008, December 10). Clothing With A Brain: 'Smart Fabrics' That Monitor Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208085058.htm
University of Michigan. "Clothing With A Brain: 'Smart Fabrics' That Monitor Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208085058.htm (accessed August 19, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins