Smart textiles, flexible & wearable electronics is a growing sector, including a large variety of interdisciplinary technologies, processes and enabling applications e.g. smart labels for packaging and lighting & sensing textiles. These technologies have a potential socio-economic impact in a wide variety of possible application sectors, such as health (including medical, fitness and wellness), fashion, lighting, ID tracking & localisation, industrial and manufacturing applications, automotive, military applications, etc.
About ten projects, have been funded under FP7-DG CONNECT-Competitive Electronics Industry (alias Components & systems). They have delivered substantial results, such as advanced prototype demonstrators, 3 spin-offs, 24 Patents and 48 Journal peer reviewed publications, showing at the same time current limitations and underlying the need for further support along the value chain from development to manufacturing and innovation.
The report includes analysis of this portfolio in terms of participation & funding; advances regarding device development, miniaturization and wireless communications; targeted applications; identification of technological barriers for the expansion of this sector such as in terms of, integration of electronic devices in textiles and other flexible or stretchable substrates, and low capacity of energy storage & power management. It also underlines the lack of bulk manufacturing capability (roll-to-roll production) due to an insufficient level of automation as one of the significant barriers and provides an overview of lessons to be learned for the future.