At the upcoming Internationale Funkausstellung 2005 in Berlin, Philips Research will show prototypes of its photonic textiles—fabrics that contain lighting systems and can therefore serve as displays.
The researchers have managed to integrate flexible arrays of multicolored LEDs into fabrics without compromising the softness of the cloth.
They have developed an interconnecting substrate made entirely of cloth. After having created flexible and drapable substrates from plastics and films, the researchers have placed on the substrates passive matrixes of 10 x 10 red, green and blue LED packages. The pixelated luminaries have been embedded in objects such as pillows, backpacks, and floor mats.
The Electronic and Photonic Textiles prototypes include what Philips calls the “SMS pillow” (send a text message to it and words scroll across it) and a backpack that has the same LED substrate stitched onto the back.
The LED substrates are also capable of displaying Windows Media Player-style visualisations and feature responsive sensors so that the patterns of diffused light displayed can change according to how they are handled. Philips sees the customisation potential here – just as kids personalise their phones with ring tones and wallpapers, so they’ll be able to wear T-Shirts with messages that scroll across them, or have a scarf that flashes ‘Liverpool FC rule!’
The next version should be even more flexible and have a higher resolution.
Related: Portable light.