Smart textiles are able to sense and respond to changes in their environment, increasing as such their functionality to the wearer. The main application fields of smart textiles are safety and protection (e.g. technical textiles and workwear), medical support (e.g. monitoring of the elderly) and performance enhancement (e.g. fitness and sport).
A smart textile product is composed of four elements: sensors, communication paths, a data processor and a power source. The challenge is their integration in textiles. Unfortunately, the current state-of-the-art solutions do not fully respond to all needs, especially in the field of creating seamless and unobstructive connections and encapsulations of electronic modules in textiles. 3D printing is an ideal tool to develop alternative strategies to integrate connections & encapsulation in textiles.
The Smart³D project aims to fill the gaps (connections & encapsulations) that are presently limiting the integration of electronics in textiles. A combination of additive manufacturing & novel moulding techniques will be used for prototyping & small production runs.