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Scientists develop a scarf that can communicate

By Brooke Villanueva Published Mar 10, 2021 11:02 pm

Scientists have come up with a unique breakthrough in the form of a scarf. 

It may look like a typical piece with turquoise, blue, and orange stripes in an open weave at first, but it holds a surprise: this wearable, foldable, and washable fabric, which can be charged via solar energy or batteries, has the ability to display messages or images and even be used with a keyboard.

Developed by a research group at Fudan University in Shanghai, the innovation was successfully made after a myriad of trials and errors using different materials. How did it finally work? According to Agence France-Presse, the team particularly looked into the composition of textiles and how the threads cut across each other in the warp and weft of woven material.

For project leader Huisheng Peng, this innovation could transform the way people communicate and “help individuals with voice, speech, or language difficulties to express themselves to others,” which could be in line with health problems or language barriers. 

Among its functions are a dynamic sleeve display that could show a GPS map to a driver. Additionally, in an experiment with the fabric where the researchers paired a processor with brainwaves collected from volunteer participants who had either been doing meditation exercises or playing a race car game, they found that “the waves could then be translated into messages displayed on the fabric reading either ‘relaxed’ or ‘anxious.’”

As per the same report, "Peng said there were several improvements to the fabric the team would now work on, including making the display brighter, the resolution clearer, and the luminescent points available in more colors."

“We hope that woven-fiber materials will shape next-generation electronics by changing the way we interact with electronic devices,” he declared.

Article thumbnails from Fudan University / Xiang Shi