Joint Venture Leads to Durable, Flexible, Washable E-Textiles for Smart Garments

Powercast Corporation and Liquid X have teamed up to enable cost-effective manufacturing of durable, flexible, washable e-textiles that could be wirelessly recharged. Using e-textiles made with printed electronics, garment manufacturers could embed battery-powered health and wealth features, movement monitoring, or LED-based illumination directly into garments.

Liquid X and Powercast showcased a wirelessly rechargeable smart athletic shirt prototype at CES in January 2020. The shirt illuminates using printed electronics, embedded power harvesting technology, and LEDs powered over the air up to 10 feet away from the wireless transmitter.

Unlike smart garments that use snap-on electronics and battery packs that must be detached before the garment is washed, the electronics made with these e-textiles could be washed without the extra battery-removal step

Using Liquid X’s proprietary ink technology, manufacturers can print circuitry directly onto a garment, add Powercast’s wireless power technology and a battery, and seal it all into the garment during the manufacturing process.

First, circuitry is printed on the fabric using Liquid X’s proprietary particle-free ink, including Powercast’s RF wireless receiving antenna.

Next, Powercast’s Powerharvester® RF wireless power receiver chip, a battery, and other components are mounted onto the printed traces.

Finally, an encapsulant provides a high strength waterproof bond to seal in all of the electronics.

To recharge the battery, consumers simply place a Powercast RF transmitter in the closet or drawer where they store their smart garment. It transmits RF energy over the air to the RF receiver embedded in the wearable, which then converts it to direct current (DC) to charge the battery.

About Powercast: Powercast, established in 2003, is the leading provider of RF-based wireless power technologies that work in the far field (up to 80 feet) to provide power-over-distance, eliminate or reduce the need for batteries, and power or charge devices without wires and connectors. For more information: www.powercastco.com.

About Liquid X: Liquid X is an advanced manufacturer of functional metallic inks. The company partners with manufacturers in the electronics industry to develop and print functional components for devices such as sensors, heating elements, and smart textiles. Using proprietary particle-free inks, printing capabilities and technical expertise, Liquid X takes an application from concept to commercialization using additive manufacturing techniques. For more information: www.liquid-x.com

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