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flexible use
✽
✽
A flexible all-textile method of connecting wearable
textile transmission lines
➔FURTHER READING
Page 1136
‘Connecting
wearable textile
transmission lines:
all-textile
fabrication solutions
and design
techniques’,
A. Tsolis,
A.A. Alexandridis,
W.G. Whittow and
J.C. Vardaxoglou
wearable technologies. So far they have been
continuing their work into this technology
through simulations and measurements as part
of the larger activities of their laboratory,
which focuses on the design and analysis of
wearable communication systems and related
technologies.
In the long term, the team believe that the new
method will increase the flexibility of wearable
communication systems, and lead to the
production of technologies such as garments with
integrated textile striplines using flexible
connectors to connect to antennas as needed.
Such garments could be used in hospitals,
monitoring the condition of patients and
automatically informing the staff of any
emergencies. When asked about the future of this
sort of technology, Tsolis and the team have high
expectations. “We believe that there will be a
rapid explosion in the wearable antennas and
electronics technology. We predict that this
technology is the future of smart garments and
furthermore the future of our daily lives. We
would like to see, and would be very happy to
witness “state-of-the-art” garments that will be
capable of supporting health monitors,
entertainment and sports training equipment.
A smart garment could be an assistant, a doctor,
a trainer etc. to every human’s life.”
With the growth of the Internet Of Things,
significant resources are being put into the
development of smart garments. Ideally, the
systems in these garments should be fully flexible
to allow greater comfort and a wider range of
applications. Now, a team jointly from
Loughborough University (UK) and the National
Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos”
(Greece) have developed an all-textile flexible
method of connecting textile transmission lines.
Overlapping ideas
In wearable communication systems currently
in operation, rigid connectors such as coaxial
SMA connectors are used to connect antennas to
the electronic systems required to operate them.
These rigid parts can make wearable technology
uncomfortable and more prone to damage. With
this in mind, the team previously investigated
connection methods that could eliminate the
need for such rigid connections. Of the
methods investigated, complementary overlap
(CO) emerged as the most promising. In this
method two identical striplines are overlapped
(as show in the images). This time, the team has
investigated issues related to the structural
modification of CO and to the fabrication of a
connector.
Forming connections
To optimise the connector the team had to
investigate fabrication issues such as materials
and structure. Felt was used as the dielectric
substrate and Nora-Dell fabric as the conductive
textile. Through experiments the team found, out
of the three adhesives investigated (a universal
adhesive, Hemming-web and sewing using
non-conductive thread), that Hemming-web gave
the best performance. The team also discovered
that extending the ground planes on the longest
side decreased the effect of structural
discontinuities on the forward transmission
coefficient. “A noticeable advantage is the power
transmission performance improvement (+3 dB)
by the structural modification of the textile
stripline interconnection method. The insertion
losses of our flexible interconnection are less than
1.8 dB, which means that more than 66% of the
inserted power is transmitted” Mr Tsolis, the
corresponding author for the team, informed us.
“Remaining challenges are to find a way of
making the connector stable and flexible at the
same time. This means that when the
interconnection happens it needs to be stable and
also flexible in terms of ease in connecting and
disconnecting the transmission lines.” To keep the
individual stripline parts of the CO firmly
connected the team had to use clamps, as a stable
measurement setup was required to evaluate the
power transmission via measurements. “We
believe that in terms of a final wearable realisation
conductive Velcro or magnets could be used
instead of clamps. The use of Velcro seems like a
feasible solution for wearable and flexible
systems. We plan to further investigate the
implementation of supporting the proposed
connection by using Velcro” said Tsolis.
The future of fashion
In the short term, the team plan to use this
technology to advance their own research into
TOP: The method is
designed to allow easy
connection, although
currently requires clamps
to keep the connection
stable
BOTTOM: The complemen-
tary overlap method was
tested against a straight
transmission line made
from the same materials
straight
complementary
overlap
overlap, 2 cm
port 2
port 2
port 1
port 1
extended
upper GND (1 cm)
stripline 2
felt
felt
felt
GND
GND
GND
stripline 2
stripline 1 stripline 2
stripline 1
25 mm
10 mm
8.12 mm
1127ELECTRONICS LETTERS 23rd July 2015 Vol.51 No.15doi: 10.1049/el.2015.2311

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flexible_use_featured_article_in_IET_Electronics_Letters

  • 1. flexible use ✽ ✽ A flexible all-textile method of connecting wearable textile transmission lines ➔FURTHER READING Page 1136 ‘Connecting wearable textile transmission lines: all-textile fabrication solutions and design techniques’, A. Tsolis, A.A. Alexandridis, W.G. Whittow and J.C. Vardaxoglou wearable technologies. So far they have been continuing their work into this technology through simulations and measurements as part of the larger activities of their laboratory, which focuses on the design and analysis of wearable communication systems and related technologies. In the long term, the team believe that the new method will increase the flexibility of wearable communication systems, and lead to the production of technologies such as garments with integrated textile striplines using flexible connectors to connect to antennas as needed. Such garments could be used in hospitals, monitoring the condition of patients and automatically informing the staff of any emergencies. When asked about the future of this sort of technology, Tsolis and the team have high expectations. “We believe that there will be a rapid explosion in the wearable antennas and electronics technology. We predict that this technology is the future of smart garments and furthermore the future of our daily lives. We would like to see, and would be very happy to witness “state-of-the-art” garments that will be capable of supporting health monitors, entertainment and sports training equipment. A smart garment could be an assistant, a doctor, a trainer etc. to every human’s life.” With the growth of the Internet Of Things, significant resources are being put into the development of smart garments. Ideally, the systems in these garments should be fully flexible to allow greater comfort and a wider range of applications. Now, a team jointly from Loughborough University (UK) and the National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos” (Greece) have developed an all-textile flexible method of connecting textile transmission lines. Overlapping ideas In wearable communication systems currently in operation, rigid connectors such as coaxial SMA connectors are used to connect antennas to the electronic systems required to operate them. These rigid parts can make wearable technology uncomfortable and more prone to damage. With this in mind, the team previously investigated connection methods that could eliminate the need for such rigid connections. Of the methods investigated, complementary overlap (CO) emerged as the most promising. In this method two identical striplines are overlapped (as show in the images). This time, the team has investigated issues related to the structural modification of CO and to the fabrication of a connector. Forming connections To optimise the connector the team had to investigate fabrication issues such as materials and structure. Felt was used as the dielectric substrate and Nora-Dell fabric as the conductive textile. Through experiments the team found, out of the three adhesives investigated (a universal adhesive, Hemming-web and sewing using non-conductive thread), that Hemming-web gave the best performance. The team also discovered that extending the ground planes on the longest side decreased the effect of structural discontinuities on the forward transmission coefficient. “A noticeable advantage is the power transmission performance improvement (+3 dB) by the structural modification of the textile stripline interconnection method. The insertion losses of our flexible interconnection are less than 1.8 dB, which means that more than 66% of the inserted power is transmitted” Mr Tsolis, the corresponding author for the team, informed us. “Remaining challenges are to find a way of making the connector stable and flexible at the same time. This means that when the interconnection happens it needs to be stable and also flexible in terms of ease in connecting and disconnecting the transmission lines.” To keep the individual stripline parts of the CO firmly connected the team had to use clamps, as a stable measurement setup was required to evaluate the power transmission via measurements. “We believe that in terms of a final wearable realisation conductive Velcro or magnets could be used instead of clamps. The use of Velcro seems like a feasible solution for wearable and flexible systems. We plan to further investigate the implementation of supporting the proposed connection by using Velcro” said Tsolis. The future of fashion In the short term, the team plan to use this technology to advance their own research into TOP: The method is designed to allow easy connection, although currently requires clamps to keep the connection stable BOTTOM: The complemen- tary overlap method was tested against a straight transmission line made from the same materials straight complementary overlap overlap, 2 cm port 2 port 2 port 1 port 1 extended upper GND (1 cm) stripline 2 felt felt felt GND GND GND stripline 2 stripline 1 stripline 2 stripline 1 25 mm 10 mm 8.12 mm 1127ELECTRONICS LETTERS 23rd July 2015 Vol.51 No.15doi: 10.1049/el.2015.2311