Can computer technology get even smaller? Apparently, it can. Researchers at North Carolina State University are currently experimenting with computerizing textiles. Researchers envision that people will be able to wear computers in their clothing. Perhaps jeans will double as iPads. Tee-shirts? Maybe iPhones.
In their experiments, researchers have coated woven cotton and non-woven polypropylene with “inorganic materials” such as tungsten coatings on quartz fibers. According to NanoWerk magazine, this makes the cloth “sufficiently conductive to perform in simple device architectures [for computers].”
Jess Jur, assistant professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science told NanoWerk that the university’s “research team had previously studied inorganic coatings on polymer textile surfaces by atomic layer deposition, which results in controlled nanocoatings. From our research team’s prior experience in microelectronics, we naturally wanted to show how this process could be used to produce electronic devices on textiles.”
The College of Textiles and College of Engineering at North Carolina State University are also currently collaborating in an effort to improve atomic layer deposition, used in the processing of flexible substrates, such as polymer sheets and textiles.