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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P02534X/1
Title: SWIFT: Smart Wearable Intelligent Fibre-based Technology
Principal Investigator: Torrisi, Dr F
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EPSRC Ctr for Large Area Electronics Heatcoat Ltd Imperial College London
Luigi Bandera Mechanical Engineering SpA Novalia SmartLife Inc Ltd
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 101,140
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Mar 2017 EPSRC Manufacturing Prioritisation Panel March 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Technology and our economy in general, usually advance either by incremental steps (e.g. scaling the size and number of transistors on a chip) or by quantum leaps (transition from vacuum tubes to semiconductor technologies). Disruptive technologies behind such revolutions are usually underpinned by new form of materials with dramatic, orders of magnitude improvements in applications, which change many aspects of our life simultaneously, penetrating every corner of our existence.

Wearable technologies present a market opportunity in excess of $53 billion [Soreon '15] in RCUK priority areas such as healthcare, wellbeing and Internet of Things (IoT). Current wearable technologies rely on rigid electronic components mounted on flexible materials such as plastic films. These offer limited compatibility with the skin in many circumstances, suffer washing and are uncomfortable to wear because they are not breathable.

Turning fibres into functional electronic components can address these problems. Work is already underway to have synthetic fibres with electronic functionality. However, issues such as breathability, washability and comfort still remain, as these are properties associated with natural materials.

This project will enable natural fibres such as cotton and wool to show basic electronic functions such as conductivity and light emission. SWIFT will demonstrate the potential of this approach, create impact and raise awareness. Further work would lead to greater functionality: i.e. sensing.

SWIFT aims to demonstrate new cotton-based optoelectronic fibre components that offer breathability, washability and compatibility with the skin. The project will exploit existing nanomaterials, functional organic materials and polymer composite technology together with the know-how on nanotechnology existing in Cambridge to develop conductive and light-emitting cotton/cellulose fibres that could be woven to make fibre-based, stretchable conductive and light-emitting fabrics for future textile-based wearable displays, sensors or smart patches with potential applications in healthcare, wellbeing, IoT, lighting, sensing.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk