Imec's Frederick Bossuyt will have a keynote during this conference:
"Technologies for integration of electronics in textiles based on flexible and stretchable circuit boards"
Frederick Bossuyt, Paula Veske, Pieter Bauwens, Tom Sterken, Bjorn Vandecasteele, Jan Vanfleteren
Technologies to integrate electronics in textiles are essential in order to create wearables with sensing functionality. These wearables create an added value for e.g. sports applications and medical devices, where close to the body monitoring of vital parameters is necessary. To realize such wearables, advanced electronic circuit board technologies are needed to realize the sensing/actuating, signal processing, communication and powering functionality. On the other hand, advanced fabrics are needed acting as an active carrier for the electronic modules. These modules are typically distributed over the fabric and need reliable interconnections between them. While integrating all these functionalities, the focus should be to maintain the textile properties that are important for the use case as much as possible. Therefore, the integration should be as unobtrusive as possible. Important aspects are the comfort and reliability of the system during use. A challenge is to come up with ways to create thin, soft surfaces to reduce the discomfort they can create and in the meantime, maintain the reliability of the system while it’s worn and subjected to washing. Moreover, since the area of applications is exceedingly wide, integration methods need to be versatile. Different textiles, e.g. knit and woven fabrics, often need separate integration techniques while combining with electronics.
In this contribution, an overview is given of the technologies that are developed at imec-cmst in order to allow integration of electronics on fabrics. Stretchable and flexible circuit boards are used to create the electronic functionality in combination with liquid polymer embedding and lamination processes to protect these circuits. Stretchable interconnects and conductive yarns are used to be able to communicate between different system components. Different approaches will be presented including an assessment on comfort and reliability.
Different projects are currently running in order to make protective garments, medical devices and sports applications. Examples will be given of realized demonstrators with special attention to the architecture, used technologies and reliability of the systems.