Power Semiconductors

Video: Using Arduino to create flexible e-textile sensors

21 April 2021

Rigid electronics are easier to control than those that are flexible. Turning on a traditional light emitting diode (LED) can be done with a button or switch. But what happens when these same electronics need to bend in applications such as wearables or in e-textiles?

In a flexible textile sensor, which would be integrated into jackets, gloves, t-shirts or pants, the electronics must bend to meet the curves of the human body. Maker Willpower Studios has created a flexible e-textile sensor that uses an Arduino microcontroller to illuminate an LED light by bending a finger.

Willpower Studios used a custom sleeve made of piezoresistive stretch fabric, which is attached by copper threads to the Arduino Nano’s analog input pin. When a finger is curled, the light in the LED is switched on and off again when straightened. The maker said this design could fit inside a glove to control light or sound.

Beyond LEDs, the concept could be taken further to include multiple fingers for more intricate controls of electronics inside textiles.

In the video, the maker shows how the LED light is controlled by bending and straightening the finger, demonstrating how these electronics could be used in future designs for gloves or other clothing.

Learn how to make the design at Willpower Studios’ Github.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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