Weaving With Light: An OLED Fibre Fabric Display

If you think of wearable electronic projects, in many cases what may come to mind are the use of addressable LEDs, perhaps on strips or on sewable PCBs like the Neopixel and similar products. They make an attractive twinkling fashion show, but there remains a feeling that in many cases once you have seen one project, you have seen them all.

So if you are tiring of static sewable LED projects and would like to look forward to something altogether more exciting, take a look at some bleeding-edge research from a team at KAIST, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology. They have created OLED fibres and woven them into fabric in a way that appears such that they can be lit at individual points to create addressable pixels. In this way there is potential for fabrics that incorporate entire LED displays within their construction rather than in which they serve as a substrate.

The especially interesting feature of the OLED fibres from the KAIST team is that their process does not require any high temperatures, meaning that a whole range of everyday textile fibres can be used as substrates for OLEDs. The results are durable and do not lose OLED performance under tension, meaning that there is the possibility of their becoming practical fabrics for use in garments.

While this technology is a little way away from a piece of clothing you might buy from a store, the fact that it does not rely on special processes during weaving means that when the fibres become commercially available we are likely to see their speedy adoption. Meanwhile you can buy conductive fabric, but you might have to take a multimeter to the store to find it.

Via EENewsLED, and thank you [Carl] for the tip.

11 thoughts on “Weaving With Light: An OLED Fibre Fabric Display

    1. Yeah, as always in brainstorming for cheating you´d learn more by cheating than with actual learning. Getting those formulas in my TI voyage 200 teached me not only how to use my calculator, but also how to calculate ;)

  1. From the web page.
    “Through this method, the team successfully developed efficient OLEDs that are designed to last a lifetime and are still equivalent to those on planar substrates.”

    Lifetime of what? The OLEDs? I’m not convinced that OLEDs have much of a lifetime when I see the fading numerals on my clock radio.

  2. I want to see this used in camouflage. It would work like that invisible car ad for Mercedes a few years ago and a fine enough weave could practically be an invisibility cloak, very Ghost in the Shell.

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