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Market Research Report - 297671

E-Textiles: Electronic Textiles 2014-2024

Published by IDTechEx Ltd.
Published Content info 151 Pages
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E-Textiles: Electronic Textiles 2014-2024
Published: October 1, 2014 Content info: 151 Pages

At least 70% of our time we are in contact with textiles and they are starting to become intelligent. This report is about the ultimate form of that - e-textiles based on inherently electronically or electrically-active woven e-fibers. These disruptive technologies will have an exponentially increasing market but with a slow start because they are so challenging. E-textiles vary from apparel to drapes, bandages and bed linen but most is in the laboratory not production. They will variously be able to sense, emit light, show changing images, heat, cool, change shape, compute and wirelessly communicate or harvest ambient energy to create electricity where needed, even diagnose and sometimes treat medical conditions.

E-textiles are the ultimate way of making the smart apparel rapidly being launched by Adidas, Reebok and Nike and the smart patches being rapidly adopted in healthcare. Conductive apparel and textiles with electronics attached by sewing, heat sealing and so on is already sold by many companies for many purposes and much of this will use true e-textiles based on e-fibers in due course. Here is a basis of subtle designer fashion as opposed to the popular but ugly smart apparel of today. Even the top design houses are following this next phase, which mainly exists in research laboratories at present. For the scientist, there is much of interest, including provision of weavable forms of fiber optics, carbon nanotubes and inorganic nanorods. For now, priorities include stretchable fibers, notably functioning as photovoltaics and supercapacitors for energy harvesting (you store what you gather) and as stretchable interconnects between very small chip components in textiles. Then there are fiber batteries, memory and many other components being demonstrated and a rapid move to several capabilities on one fiber such as sensors and electro-optics. In its thoughtful analysis, IDTechEx sees somewhat different winners in this new, more radical form of electronically and electrically active textile. We explain how several new developments are key for more than one capability of an e-fiber, examples including solid electrolytes for batteries, DSSC and supercapacitors and inherently very conductive fiber. Why is there much more work on piezoelectric fiber than transitor or memory fiber and what is it all for anyway? It is all here.

Compared to today's wearable electronics, for example, there is less opportunity to use true e-textiles for infotainment but more for fashion. However, both involve huge opportunities in the merging healthcare, medical, fitness and wellness sector. Winners will not be those currently dominating mobile phones and similar devices who are taking leadership in smart glasses, wristbands, headware etc., but the many start-ups, fashion houses, medical electronics companies and so on. Europe will be a strong contender with its unique transnational development programs that are exceptionally comprehensive along the emerging value chain. Timelines and approximate market size are given and development work appraised. There is also a look at smart textiles that may transistion to being true e-textiles.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


  • 1.1. Challenges and opportunities
  • 1.2. Results of survey of e-fiber projects for e-textiles
  • 1.3. Market for wearable electronic devices and e-textiles 2014-2024
    • 1.3.1. Market for wearable electronics 2014-2024
  • 1.4. e-fiber technology


  • 2.1. Value chain
  • 2.2. Failures
  • 2.3. Key enabling technology
  • 2.4. Conductive yarns
  • 2.5. Solid state electrolytes
  • 2.6. Parallel work on improved DSSC
  • 2.7. Lessons from Samsung Future Technology Needs, London 16 June 2014
  • 2.8. Structural components are the future


  • 3.1. Conductive fibers
    • 3.1.1. CETEMMSA Spain
    • 3.1.2. Clothing+ Finland
    • 3.1.3. Cornell University USA, Bologna & Cagliari Universities Italy
    • 3.1.4. ETHZ Switzerland
    • 3.1.5. Florida State University USA
    • 3.1.6. National Physical Laboratory NPL UK
    • 3.1.7. Textronics (adidas) Germany
  • 3.2. Piezoelectrics
    • 3.2.1. Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
    • 3.2.2. University of Bolton UK
  • 3.3. Flexible piezoelectric fabric
    • 3.3.1. Concordia University XS Labs Canada
    • 3.3.2. Cornell University USA
    • 3.3.3. Georgia Institute of Technology USA
    • 3.3.4. Southampton University UK
    • 3.3.5. University of California Berkeley USA
    • 3.3.6. University of California, Berkeley USA
  • 3.4. OLED display
    • 3.4.1. Technical University of Darmstadt Germany
  • 3.5. Photovoltaics
    • 3.5.1. CETEMMSA and DEPHOTEX Spain
    • 3.5.2. Illuminex USA
    • 3.5.3. Konarka (no longer trading) USA, EPFL Switzerland
    • 3.5.4. Penn State University USA and Southampton University UK
    • 3.5.5. University of Southampton UK
  • 3.6. Supercapacitors
    • 3.6.1. Drexel University USA
    • 3.6.2. Imperial College London
    • 3.6.3. Powerweave European Commission
    • 3.6.4. Supercapacitor yarn in China
    • 3.6.5. University of Delaware USA
    • 3.6.6. University of Wollongong Australia
  • 3.7. Electro-optics and sensors
    • 3.7.1. MIT's Research Lab of Electronics USA
    • 3.7.2. Purdue University USA
  • 3.8. Batteries
    • 3.8.1. Polytechnic School of Montreal Canada
  • 3.9. Self-healing polymers University of Illinois USA
  • 3.10. Host CNT web University of Texas at Dallas USA
  • 3.11. Transistors
  • 3.12. Memory
    • 3.12.1. NASA USA


  • 4.1. Micro Sphelar Power Corporation Japan
  • 4.2. Nottingham Trent University UK
  • 4.3. Supercapacitors: Drexel University USA
  • 4.4. University of South Carolina USA


  • 5.1. Stitchable laminate for textiles: Wayne State University USA
  • 5.2. Electrodynamic energy harvesting: Riga Technical University, Latvia
  • 5.3. Sensors and photovoltaics: University of British Columbia Canada
  • 5.4. Stitchable RFID labels: developments worldwide
    • 5.4.1. Woven and flexible, washable tags
    • 5.4.2. The laundry/ rented apparel RFID market
    • 5.4.3. Sumitex International Japan
    • 5.4.4. Sumitomo Bussan Japan
    • 5.4.5. TexTrace
  • 5.5. RFID for laundry and rented textiles
    • 5.5.1. Payback
    • 5.5.2. Technical requirements and trends
    • 5.5.3. Laundry tag suppliers
    • 5.5.4. Shirt to power low energy wearable electronics
    • 5.5.5. Adidas Germany
  • 5.6. Intelligent lighting
  • 5.7. Plastic solar cells applied to energy clothing
  • 5.8. Triboelectric generators
  • 5.9. Battery for textiles
  • 5.10. Weavable battery: Polytechnic School of Montreal in Canada
  • 5.11. Spacewear
  • 5.12. Fiber electroactive polymers: University of Texas at Dallas USA
  • 5.13. Flexible optics Centre for Microsystems Technology/imec/Ghent University Belgium


  • 6.1. Wearable electronics market potential by type
    • 6.1.1. What sectors are meaningful in forecasts?
    • 6.1.2. Definitely a growing business




  • 1.1. Some potential benefits and uses of weavable fibers that are inherently electronic or electric, the only modest commercial success being shown in green.
  • 1.2. Possible timeline for inherently electronic/ electrical woven fibers in mass production.
  • 1.3. Examples of smart textiles not reliant on fibers that are inherently electronic or electric.
  • 1.4. The evolution of the physical structure of electronics with the aspects covered in this report - e-textiles and precursor products - highlighted in green.
  • 1.5. Global number of wearable electronic devices in billions 2014-2024
  • 1.6. Ex-factory unit price of wearable electronic devices in US$ 2014-2024 with infotainment showing fastest price erosion continuing past trends.
  • 1.7. Global market value of wearable electronic devices in US$ billions 2014-2024
  • 1.8. By applicational sector, the scope 2014 and 2024 and the number of developers and manufacturers driving those figures, largest e-textile potential for the future shown in green, though this is speculative.
  • 2.1. Simple comparison of the two main types of wearable technology with examples. The sub- sector with large value sales expected in next few years is shown in red. The sectors where we expect large sales later in the coming decade ar
  • 2.2. Some failures of wearable electronics with reasons
  • 3.1. Weavable e-fiber projects examined by name, country and functionality/ component
  • 3.2. NPL conductive fabric type vs resistivity
  • 6.1. IDTechEx forecast of the market for wearable technology in 2024, some of which will involve e-textiles, with the biggest overall potential in red and e-textile potential in green
  • 6.2. Examples of wearable electronics ideas, products and enabling materials that could involve electronic and electrically active woven fibers one day shown in green with potential identified as over or under $5 billion.


  • 1.1. How the common terms soft circuits, printed electronics, wearable electronics, smart textiles and e-textiles relate. The term electronics includes electrics.
  • 1.2. Evolution expected to occur in many examples of electronics and electrics distributed through textiles
  • 1.3. e-fibers for weaving compared to fiber optics, nanotubes and nanofibers.
  • 1.4. Lumitex woven fiber optic panels
  • 1.5. e-fiber projects by country
  • 1.6. e-fiber projects by function
  • 1.7. The two main types of wearable technology, their typical characteristics (though not all are exhibited by any one realisation) with examples and allied subjects. The Adidas fitness monitoring sports bra at top is comfortable and s
  • 1.8. Global number of wearable electronic devices in billions 2014-2024
  • 1.9. Ex-factory unit price of wearable electronic devices in US$ 2014-2024 with infotainment showing fastest price erosion continuing past trends
  • 1.10. Global market value of wearable electronic devices in US$ billions 2014-2024
  • 1.11. Example of transition envisaged from wearable devices to wearable e-textiles.
  • 1.12. Some of the possibilities from combining the best of disposable and laundry tags on apparel
  • 2.1. Some of the more significant technology integration that will be used in wearable electronics 2014-2024
  • 2.2. Conductive yarns compared
  • 2.3. e-textile integration methods
  • 2.4. Washability is a big issue. Suh gives an example of a comparison. Better washability is needed for much of the potentially addressable market
  • 2.5. Liquid versus Solid State DSSCs: A game changing breakthrough?
  • 2.6. Fiber type TCO-less dye sensitized solar cell
  • 3.1. Solar-powered dresses with the technology woven into its fabric
  • 3.2. The fabric strip with conductors and electronic parts such as temperature sensors woven into it
  • 3.3. Textro conductive stretchable yarn by adidas subsidiary Textronics
  • 3.4. Professor Zhong Lin Wang
  • 3.5. Microscope image shows the fibers that are part of the microfiber nanogenerator. The top one is coated with gold
  • 3.6. Schematic shows how pairs of fibers would generate electrical current
  • 3.7. Fibers with piezoelectric and photovoltaic layers
  • 3.8. Flexible piezoelectric fabric
  • 3.9. Fiber nanogenerator on a plastic substrate
  • 3.10. Scanning Electron Microscope SEM image of a bent carbon nanotube coated spider silk fiber.
  • 3.11. "Flare" LED dress powered by wind energy
  • 3.12. Silicon nanowires suitable for thread coating
  • 3.13. Konarka concept of photovoltaic fiber
  • 3.14. Flexible silicon photovoltaics
  • 3.15. Cross-sectional image of the new silicon-based optical fiber
  • 3.16. Seamlessly knitted and woven carbon fiber electrodes.
  • 3.17. Textile supercapacitor
  • 3.18. Stretchable supercapacitor composed of carbon nanotube macrofilms, a polyurethane membrane separator and organic electrolytes.
  • 3.19. Integration of PV films into textile
  • 3.20. Powerweave solar airship concept
  • 3.21. Dip method fibre supercapacitor
  • 3.22. Stretchable supercapacitor yarn
  • 3.23. Two orthogonal carbon nanotube fiber supercapacitors woven into a textile.
  • 3.24. Tsu-Wei Chou (left) with visiting scholar Ping Xu: University of Delaware
  • 3.25. Fibers that can detect and produce sound
  • 3.26. Nanopetal silicon photovoltaics. Color-enhanced scanning electron microscope images show nanosheets resembling tiny rose petals
  • 3.27. Polytechnic School of Montreal Canada has developed flexible woven batteries
  • 3.28. Flexible woven touchpad
  • 3.29. Elastic polymer that was cut in two and healed overnight
  • 3.30. Carbon nanotube forest
  • 3.31. Potentially e-textile transistor
  • 3.32. NASA woven memory
  • 4.1. Printing conductive patterns onto textiles and adding chip devices.
  • 4.2. Micro-spherical photovoltaics formed into a textile
  • 4.3. Shelar cells
  • 4.4. Nottingham Trent University work on trapping electronics in fibers before weaving
  • 5.1. Top and cross section views of the proposed flexible skin to be woven into textiles.
  • 5.2. (a) A silicon flexible skin with stitching holes; (b) a folded silicon flexible skin.
  • 5.3. A silicon flexible skin stitched onto the surface of a piece of KEVLAR fabric
  • 5.4. Flexible skin with integrated strain gauges
  • 5.5. Simplified fabrication process
  • 5.6. A bent smart yarn device; (b) SEM image of a kink-free knot made by a strand of PDMS filled yarn; (c) Cross-sectional SEM image of a strand of smart yarn device filled with PDMS.
  • 5.7. Micrographs of silicon strain gauge and MOSFET integrated in the smart yarns
  • 5.8. Human motion energy harvester for wearable applications
  • 5.9. Some of the possibilities from combining the best of disposable and laundry tags on apparel
  • 5.10. Japanese textile maker Sumitex International
  • 5.11. The TexTrace textile RFID label
  • 5.12. Unique identity on item level
  • 5.13. One single label over the whole life cycle
  • 5.14. TEG powered shirt
  • 5.15. Wearable monitoring: our focus
  • 5.16. BlueTouch Pain Relief Patch
  • 5.17. The BlueTouch Pain Relief Patch from Philips. Enlarged image of blue LEDs and a sensor, integrated in a textile fabric
  • 5.18. Energy harvesting blankets for rural patients
  • 5.19. Unplugged textile solar cell
  • 5.20. Zhong Lin Wang with triboelectric generators
  • 5.21. Battery for textiles
  • 5.22. A flexible battery made with carbon nanotubes
  • 5.23. Astronaut power
  • 5.24. Energy harvester that can convert human movements into electrical energy
  • 5.25. Self-sufficient energy harvesting system that turns human movement into electrical energy
  • 5.26. The new optical circuit works when bent around an object about the diameter of a human finger
  • 6.1. E-textile and flexible wearable sensors patent trends 1988-2013, the latest year presumably being anomalous.
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