Photonic textiles turn fabric into intelligent displays
Philips demonstrates photonic textiles that turn fabric into intelligent displays. With the development of this new and unusual technology, Philips Research is pointing the way toward a new age in the long history of textiles. At first glance, objects such as clothing, towels, upholstery, and drapes would seem unlikely places on which to place intelligent and interactive systems. Yet these low-tech objects figure prominently in our lives. By integrating flexible arrays of multicolored light-emitting diodes (LEDs) into fabrics and doing so without compromising the softness of the cloths Philips Research is bringing these inert objects to life.To meet the challenge of creating light-emitting cloth objects that retain their softness, Philips Research and textile institute TITV Greiz have developed an interconnecting substrate made entirely of cloth. Researchers from Philips have also created flexible and drapable substrates from plastics and films.On these substrates, the researchers have placed passive matrices of compact RGB LED packages. The pixelated luminaires with relatively large distance between the RGB pixels have been embedded in such everyday objects as cushions, backpacks, and floor mats. Since the fabric material covering the miniature light sources naturally diffuses light, each pixel seems bigger than it actually is. The LEDs, therefore, remain small and unobtrusive, while the fabric retains its soft look and feel.
Source: research.philips.comAdded: 6 June 2006