Graphene’s infusion in textiles is the future of wearable electronics

Smart clothes are a highly promising field of development, where everything from health monitors to LED displays are integrated into clothes.

Now, new research is promising better smart clothes without rigid components or expensive manufacturing. Scientists from the Cambridge Graphene Centre (CGC) and Jiangnan University have developed conductive cotton fabric that is laced with graphene ink. Graphene is basically single atom-thick sheets of carbon. The two dimensional material boasts many impressive characteristics: flexibility, conductivity, biocompatibility and many others. It sees future applications in batteries, computer chips, electric cars, and endless others.Those same characteristics lend graphene to an application in smart textiles.

The research, published in the journal Carbon, demonstrated the textile by creating a wearable motion sensor. Their tests revealed that the textile can detect up to 500 motion cycles, even after more than 10 passes through a washing machine. Integrating tech into clothes have created all sorts of new smart textiles. Researchers have developed clothing that contains sensors to measure heart rate, breathing rate, and all sorts of bioindicators.

There have also been a spate of electricity-generating clothing. These textiles integrate photo voltaic material or motion-gathering generators into the fabric, to one day give you the ability to charge your phone or power a device using your clothes.There are thousands of other possible developments for smart clothing, from self-cleaning fabrics to cloth that changes color according to stimuli. These fabrics will be changing how we view clothing and how much tech we really want stuck close to our bodies in the future.