Bendable Electronic Circuits Inspired by Paper Art May Boost Smart Clothing Development


An elecrtic circuit board / Photo by: moebiusdream via Pixabay


Manufacturing of stretchable yet strong electronic circuits is a difficult task to do. Not only do the circuits need to be efficient, the parts should also be malleable enough to be used in many applications. Inspired by a form of origami, researchers at the University of Buffalo developed tiny sheets of bendable electronic materials that may be used in smart clothing.

Highly Malleable and Efficient Electronic Circuits

The bendable electronic circuits developed at the University of Buffalo are made of specially-designed polymers and nanowires. These materials have been inspired by kirigami, a variation of origami that includes the cutting of paper. If the technique of kirigami was not used, the circuits would only have a 6-percent deformity rate without affected conductivity. But if created using kirigami, the circuits would have a 2,000-percent deformity rate. The technique also increased the magnitude of the polymers called PthTFB.

“Traditional electronics, like the printed circuit boards in tablets and other electronic devices, are rigid,” stated Shenqiang Ren, the lead author of the study and a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The increased malleability and stable conductivity of the electronic circuits allowed its potential application to a wide range of products, such as bendable display screens, electronic paper, and more. Also, the improvements delivered by the kirigami technique enabled the application of these circuits in smart clothing.

There is a steadily-growing market for smart clothing, with several products already available including:

- MyZone Sports Bra: A sports bra that can monitor the wearer’s heart rate.

- Lumo Run: It is a sensor that turns normal clothing into smart clothing by providing the ability to help with proper posture.

- LikeAGlove: It is an intelligent set of leggings that measures the wearer’s body shape. This allows wearers to buy clothes with ideal sizes.