Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Wearable technology

A rapidly growing trend, constituting a stimulating challenge of interdisciplinary research, is the transfer of high technology into the clothes we wear or to other textiles surrounding us in our daily lives. The implications of this development are enormous and as our textile materials turn smarter, providing advanced functions that we today would not at all connect to textiles, we may expect a fundamental change to our society and the way we live. This is one of the reasons why the research field brings together an exceptionally broad range of actors, ranging from natural scientists and engineers to psychologists, designers and artists.

The field has developed tremendously in the last few years with several large companies now offering the first simple mass produced items that can be regarded as wearable technology, primarily in the field of sports clothing and shoe wear. Several small companies specializing on wearable technology and smart textiles have also emerged, many offering products for sale, albeit on a smaller scale. In academia we find strong activities around the world at several art and design institutions as well as at interdisciplinary and some traditional scientific research institutions.

Our group's take on wearable technology is to produce functional and responsive composite fibers by coaxial electrospinning, to provide new smart textile materials that can perform useful functions without any need for power supply and electrical circuitry, without compromising wearability. At the moment our main focus is on wearable sensors. This research thrust is still young and it will be exciting to see how, in particular, liquid crystal-functionalized textiles can be used in this context. To this end, we are collaborating with Prof. Younghui Kim, Hongik University, an artist and researcher at the very forefront of the development in wearable technology art, to explore how our responsive textiles can find uses beyond our (and probably your) imagination.

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Three most recent publications

Elucidating the fine details of cholesteric liquid crystal shell reflection patterns
Yong Geng, JungHyun Noh, Irena Drevensek-Olenik, Romano Rupp, and Jan P. F. Lagerwall
Liquid Crystals, DOI: 10.1080/02678292.2017.1363916 (2017)

Why organically functionalized nanoparticles increase the electrical conductivity of nematic liquid crystal dispersions
Martin Urbanski, and Jan P. F. Lagerwall Journal of Materials Chemistry C, DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02856C (2017)

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Liquid crystals in micron-scale droplets, shells, and fibers
Martin Urbanski, Catherine G. Reyes, JungHyun Noh, Anshul Sharma, Yong Gang, Venkata Subba Rao Jampani, Jan P.F. Lagerwall
J. Phys,: Condens. Matter, DOI: 10.1088/1361-648X/aa5706 (2017)

More publications can be found here.