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Published: 9 November 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Industrial researchMaterials & products
Innovation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
France  |  Greece  |  Slovenia  |  Turkey  |  United Kingdom
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Making strides in the development of 'smart' clothing

Clothing embedded with electronic sensors and microprocessors was once the stuff of science fiction. Now an EU-funded project is looking at ways of improving manufacturing techniques required by so-called e-textiles. The results could lead to a new generation of interactive, or 'smart', clothing and footwear that can monitor health, activity and location.

Picture of the woman with covered eyes

© Elnur - fotolia.com

The ETexWeld project is investigating the use of welding technology as a means of bonding practical, strong e-textile structures capable of carrying electronic devices and informatics. Manufacturers have been using welding techniques to make clothes since the 1940s, although their use has mainly been restricted to high-end products such as close-fitting active wear, weather-resistant jackets and specialist work-wear.

So far, the use of welding to construct e-textile garments has not been fully exploited. However, the technique is expected to have a positive impact on the development of interactive clothing by providing better protection against electric shocks, improved comfort and style, and a reduction in the bulk and weight of a finished garment.

The project team will develop a prototype of protective clothing loaded with a range of electronics including transmission lines, sensors, actuators and on-body computers. The garment will be assessed for its durability and comfort, as well as its ability to monitor the user’s safety in an environmentally risky situation. The welded e-textiles devised by the project will be tested against products which use more traditional stitching methods such as weaving, knitting and sewing.

ETexWeld involves 11 partners from 7 countries, including university R&D teams, clothing manufacturers, and experts in smart textile technologies and electronics. The project is backed by the EU’s Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE). RISE promotes international collaboration between different sectors for the exchange of knowledge than can take research to the marketplace.

Project details

  • Project acronym: ETexWeld
  • Participants: Turkey (Coordinator), France, Greece, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan
  • Project N°: 644268
  • Total costs: € 1 206 000
  • EU contribution: € 913 500
  • Duration: January 2015 to December 2018

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia