What is Conductive Embroidery, how is it Used?Randy Mitchell (VTech)
What is Conductive Embroidery, how is it used? Conductive Embroidery is not just your grandmother’s hobby anymore! It is the newest trend in smart clothing circuits, sensors, and electrodes! New highly conductive yarns and threads have been developed. These threads and yarns are silver plated and can be used in embroidery machines. Silver is the most conductive metal. Solid silver wires were previously used in Smart Clothing. The problem was that the clothing had to flex with its wearer. Silver wires eventually developed stress fractures, causing failure of the circuit. True wires are also uncomfortable to the wearer in garments. Embroidered circuits are flexible like yarn and conductive like metal. Embroidered circuits mean more functional durability and more comfort for the wearer. A true win-win situation!
How is Conductive Embroidery Used?
What is Conductive Embroidery, how is it Used? Conductive Embroidery can be used in the medical field. Sensors of all types can be embroidered into garments assuring proper placement of the sensor. This allows remote telemetry-based monitoring of patients. The sensor is held in place by the garment, eliminating many problems of sensor adhesive. No sensitivity to the adhesive, no sensor pop offs! Great conductivity of the sensor and great conductive circuit equals great data! Conductive Embroidered Electrodes can be combined with conductive textiles for therapeutic nerve and muscle stimulation. Resistance Heat Therapy can also be applied to achy muscles using these textiles.
Conductive Embroidery is also used in making lighted safety clothing to make workers, children, and pets more visible in dark conditions. Sensors in smart clothing can also be used in detecting hazardous exposure to unsafe materials and conditions.
Embroidered switches can operate and activate phones, lights, and the many sensing and computing devices present in smart clothing.
How do I get involved in Conductive Embroidery?
Minimally, a good quality sewing machine is needed. Realistically, an embroidery machine manufactured by ZSK is your best bet for good results. Thanks to ZSK who provided us this White Paper, A Guide to Technical Embroidery by Dr. Topher Anderson. You will also require a highly conductive yarn such as Shieldex® Madeira® HC 40, Shieldex® Madeira® HC 12, or Shieldex®235/36 x 4 HCB that is available from V technical Textiles, Inc. to give you the best conductivity possible. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in Conductive Embroidery.
V Technical Textiles, Inc.
Thank you to ZSK for their photos and the use of Dr. Topher Anderson’s paper in this article!
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