Smart Materials – DIY magnetic ink

Magnets can act as conductors and can produce a electrical charge, for example lighting a light bulb.  It is possible to make magnetic ink, this could be combined with 3D printing to produce magnetic objects or printed on garments.

The ability of conductive fibres to be painted, sew onto fabrics and papers is something I have written a lot about on my blog.  This video is a has some good examples of conductive fibres on paper being used to control lighting and sound.

Can Fabric Display a Screen like Your Kindle and Phone?

Fabric can give of signals and information visually in a number of ways, most commonly:

  • LEDS Lights.
  • Thermochronic displays.
  • Electroluminescent Wire.

Electroluminescent substances give off light after being exposed to electricity.

  • Fur Fabric.

The fabric display has three layers. The bottom layer is conductive, which means it can carry electricity to the rest of the fabric to create an electrostatic field across the fur.

E-Ink is the ink used to make the display on your kindle and it can now be printed onto paper and cloth, read about the technology behind E-ink.  It is now becoming possible print this ink in colour, the fabric it is printed onto is quite tough so may not be suitable for clothing; as this is a very new area the possibilities are yet to be explored.

LED Screens woven into fabrics have been around for while however they are very stiff and work in the same way a TV would with individual lights building up a image.  Smart screens use a technology called PLED’s.

PLED stands for polymer light emitting diode

This technology is yet to be applied to clothing, however it is being used to create ultra thin screens that flex and bend.  Emerging technology for smart fabrics also include light-emitting devices that can be woven into fabrics, again this research is at an early stage.