Soft hardware: The future of electronics is here

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The hard electronic circuitry may be on the verging of being dated since they are now being infused in clothes which you can wear. MIT Researchers have developed this innovative system which allows embedding various electronic devices into the clothes.

The boffins managed to implant semiconductor devices such as light-emitting diodes and diode photodetectors. Executed in the Inman mills located in South Carolina, these devices are woven within the fibers which could be washed. This has helped the researchers achieve their goal of making ‘smart fabrics.’

The fiber which allows to integrate this new mechanism is made up of optical fibers which is converted into a ‘preform’ – a cylindrical object which is processed deeply. This preform is heated and stretched which is later accumulated on a spool. All the process helped the researchers achieve ‘light-emitting semiconductor diodes the size of a grain of sand, and a pair of copper wires a fraction of a hair’s width’ which are amalgamated with the perform. This preform was later liquified by heating which helped in getting the diodes queued with the fiber, connected to the copper wires.

In the next stage, the fibers were converted into fabrics which were tested harshly to check and represent their durability to withstand all conditions which conventional fabrics can. To check its efficiency further, the testers also dipped the fabric into a fish tank. Nevertheless, it managed to convert optical signals into current even inside the water.

As to when the products based on this development will reach users, the report states that it is expected to get commercialised by next year.

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