i-Tex - intelligent and luminous textiles

i-Tex project objectives

Realization of lighting systems based on integration of LEDs in coated textiles. The systems will target lighting applications such as decorative indoor lighting and functional outdoor lighting. The systems will be based on large area electronics interconnections produced in roll-to-roll way. To this aim the following other objectives are planned to be achieved:

1. Large area interconnections for LEDs and intelligence

The electric interconnections developed in this project will be reliable and low cost (materials, and processes).

2. Coated textiles with embedded semiconductor components like LEDs and sensors.

Demonstration of large area smart textiles for indoor and outdoor applications with enhanced functionalities that serve the purposes of decorative and or functional lighting:

- Smart coated textile for illumination and sensing in indoor applications: a textile surface that will be hanged to a wall or fixed to the ceiling. The system will provide light for decorative purposes. Sensing the proximity of a person may even be used to control the intensity of the illumination.

- A robust and large area smart coated textile for outdoor illumination and sensing. Particular applications are the advertisement on trucks and other signs. E.g. functional lighting in event tents, on trailer curtains, in the outer areas of railway stations, etc.

3. Smart optical coating materials

Materials, based on pigmented polymer blends with a switchable polymer or based on responsive pigments in a polymer matrix, will be addressed and may adjust light emission characteristics in the on-state and perceptive optics in the off-state.

4. Definition and demonstration of a General Platform

Integration of LEDs, sensors, drivers, and large area interconnection technologies into coated textiles textile.

5. Reliable, low cost manufacturing process

The manufacturing costs and the overall bill of materials (BoM) will be taken into account; the project will examine and monitor the processing costs of every single process as well as those of the overall integration.

6. Methodology for characterization and stress from test samples to real products

Identification of failure modes and mechanisms for the heterogeneous integration of large area interconnections and lighting in smart textiles. Effective ESD protection of smart textiles with LEDs. Process and failure analysis for textile electronics.

7. Novel thermal management schemes

Increase of the thermal conductivity by one order of magnitude with respect to the existing polymer based coated textiles whose conductivity is about 0.1 W/m K. The project aims at systems with a thermal conductivity of 1-5 W/m K to be demonstrated in roll-to-roll manufacturing processes. To achieve the goals of producing the aforementioned types of light emitting smart textiles, the project will follow an integral approach to the hetero-geneous integration of lights and intelligence into large area coated textiles.

While many past and present projects focus on single competence areas in lighting, in controls, or textile fields, the i-Tex project will explore solutions that are optimal from an integrated perspective and provide solutions that will lead to products.