There are three major types of output from this project: knowledge, methods, and prototypes. Major project outcomes are detailed below and will be updated as the project progresses.
Semi-automated soldering of components onto two insulated copper wires for the production of robust electronic yarns
A key outcome of the project is to develop the knowledge needed to solder small electronic components (semi-conductor chips, MEMS devices, etc.) onto multiple, insulated, fine copper wire, and to use this knowledge to create methodologies to solder components in an automated fashion. This builds on knowledge established in an earlier EPSRC project (EP/M015149/1) where a semi-automated process to solder components onto a single, non-insulated, multi-strand copper wire was developed.
To further reinforce the E-yarn, and to provide the final yarn with a uniform shape and textile appearance, modifications have also been made to the encapsulation and covering processes employed. The automated encapsulation station now encapsulates the soldered component with multiple supporting yarns. This not only adds additional strength in the direction of the copper wire interconnects, but also gives the final yarn a more uniform appearance.
Finally the ensemble is covered in a braided structure that is created using a suture braiding machine. This consolidates the structure and gives the E-yarn a normal textile appearance.
A schematic detailing the composition of the new iteration of E-yarn design is shown below.
The production process develop to create this new iteration of the E-yarns is shown below.
A pair of shoelaces that light-up and flash have been developed in collaboration with project partner QinetiQ. The flashing laces, which each contain 24 LEDs, were created to improve the safety of joggers and cyclists at night by increasing their visibility. The flashing pattern of the laces is controlled by a small (commercially available) microcontroller that is discretely integrated into a silicone pod at the side of the shoe: The pod also includes the battery.
A short video of the shoelaces in operation is shown below.
Vibration monitoring glove
A knitted glove that is capable of measuring vibration at two points on the hand (index finger and palm) has been developed for the monitoring of hand transmitted vibrations. Hand transmitted vibrations can lead to serious musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular disorders; therefore, monitoring vibration exposure can prevent overexposure to vibrations and therefore injury. The current glove prototype includes four vibration sensing E-yarns.