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Smart Textiles

VTT develops new production method for wearable technology and cosmetic applications

With VTT’s high-volume method, microchannels can be produced on large areas of plastic film in a short time.

26th November 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Espoo

Medical/Hygiene, Sports/​Outdoor

With VTT’s high-volume method, microchannels can be produced on large areas of plastic film in a short time. Pumping cold or hot liquid through a network of microchannels enables the temperature control of functional clothes, the institution reports.

So far, the utilisation of microscopic channels for other than diagnostic purposes has been limited by relatively high production costs and the small size of the networks of microchannels that can be manufactured through traditional methods.

Microchannels for large surfaces

“Minuscule microfluidic channels can be compared to the cardiovascular system, for example. This gave us the idea for other applications of our new method in addition to diagnostics, such as heating or cooling channels for clothing, or the storage and transport of substances that are only needed in small volumes (perfumes and fragrances) or that are very expensive (medicine),” explained Ralph Liedert, VTT’s Key Account Manager for Wearable Technology and Printed Diagnostics.

The channels can be embedded either into hard or soft plastics, depending on the purpose of use. For example, the feel and shape of a soft and elastic plastic film is better suited for integration into a coat compared to rigid plastics, which in turn are better suited for application in card format, such as a handy travel perfume dispenser that is the size of a credit card.

Other possible uses of the thin cards include very precise dosing of medicine or serving strong spices in restaurants, according to the manufacturer.

Seeking partners

VTT is currently developing a smart fabric which can be used as personalised air conditioning in outdoor clothing. VTT is now seeking partners within sports, outdoor recreation, wearable technology and the cosmetics industry for the commercialisation of this new technology.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the leading research and technology company in the Nordic countries. It uses its research and knowledge to provide expert services for its domestic and international customers and partners, and for both private and public sectors.

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