Infineon presents technologies for “intelligent” clothing
Infineon recently presented solutions for wearable electronics and smart textiles for the first time in Munich. Here, microelectronic components are connected directly to electrically conductive fabric, sewn into items of clothing and thus integrate the electronics directly into the textiles.
One approach that will be marketable in the near future is a voice-controlled MP3 player, the prototype of which was presented today . The voice control works independently of the speaker and can take over all the usual key functions. The electronics of the MP3 player can be incorporated directly into the fabric of clothing and is packaged in such a way that the clothing can even be washed without damage.
The entire MP3 player, including the microprocessor for voice control, can be placed on a tiny chip. An exchangeable multimedia card (64MB) stores the music tracks. The electrical connections between the system, memory, headphones, microphone for voice control and fabric keyboard are made of conductive fabric specially made for this purpose.
Furthermore, Infineon demonstrated the concept of a thermal generator that uses body heat to power electronic components . The ultimate goal of this approach is clothing applications without batteries. For this purpose, Infineon has developed a new silicon-based thermogenerator chip that achieves an electrical output power of a few microwatts/cm2 and could thus supply small devices with power.
More information on 'intelligent' clothing is available it at Infineon . One thing should be clear, however: These clothes are not cheap.