Wireless networks of wearable devices have so far been limited by challenges in the radiative loss, interference, and data security that are inherent to the use of radio-wave radiation for interconnection. Despite promising advances in advanced communication circuits and protocols, such wireless networks have not yet been widely adopted owing primarily to energy constraints and limited sensor lifetimes.
The technology describes a method to confine radio-waves onto clothing patterned with conductive textiles. Wireless signals transmitted near these patterns, referred to as “metamaterial textiles”, propagate along the surface of the textile rather than into the surrounding space. Moreover, the geometry of the metamaterial textiles can be modified to direct the propagation of radio-waves and to implement passive devices for applications in energy transfer, sensing, and signal processing.
The technology overcomes radiative losses and data vulnerability by confining radio-wave on textiles, enables wave-control devices to be built on a textile platform, enhances wireless communication performance, transfers power wirelessly and senses changes in radio-wave transmission properties through the textile. In particular, enhanced signal transmission enabled operation of the sensor at the lowest available transmit power setting (-55 dBm) without significant increase packet latency.
Athletic wear and medical clothing
The global e-textiles market was around $100 million in 2015 and it is estimated to reach over $3 billion by 2026 with “Sports and Fitness” and “Medical and Healthcare” being the two largest sectors as larger companies enter the space and returns on the significant investments made start to surface.