From electronic cotton to e-tattoos

Mar 18, 2013 | Posted in fashion-tech, geekcraft

Great little piece by David Pescovitz of Boing Boing: “Smartly Dressed: The Future of Wearable Computing

Here are three signposts pointing toward the future of wearable computing:

Electronic Cotton
Several university laboratories are developing transistors — the building blocks of all computers — that are literally woven from cotton fibers. In a recent project led by Cornell University’s Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory, engineers coated cotton with gold nano particles and a conductive polymer layer. […]

Stretchable Silicon
University of Illinois nano scientist John Rogers developed a method to print ultra-thin silicon circuits, like those on a computer chip, onto a highly-elastic surface that you can stick on your skin. Think of a temporary tattoo containing electronic components that are one-fifth the thickness of human hair. […]

DIY Wearable Electronics
Clothing — from knitting to sewing — has always been a hotbed of do-it-yourself culture, and wearable computing is no exception. […] As always, the most creative applications of wearable computing will likely emerge when makers and artists get their hands on the technology.

But what I always find incredibly frustrating is the lack of access the at-home wearables prototyper has to any of the cutting-edge tech mentioned above. A little over three years ago, Xerox’s silver ink was supposed to “usher in new era of low cost printable electronics.” It didn’t. Consumer 3D printing is here. Where is consumer circuit printing?

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