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A Historical Review of the Development of Electronic Textiles
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Engineering a Costume for Performance Using Illuminated LED-Yarns

School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, Shakespeare Street, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK.
Ms. Connolly is now a Freelance Theatre Designer.
Fibers 2018, 6(2), 35;
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electronically Active Textiles)
A goal in the field of wearable technology is to blend electronics with textile fibers to create garments that drape and conform as normal, with additional functionality provided by the embedded electronics. This can be achieved with electronic yarns (E-yarns), in which electronics are integrated within the fibers of a yarn. A challenge is incorporating non-stretch E-yarns with stretch fabric that is desirable for some applications. To address this challenge, E-yarns containing LEDs were embroidered onto the stretch fabric of a unitard used as part of a carnival costume. A zig-zag pattern of attachment of E-yarns was developed. Tensile testing showed this pattern was successful in preventing breakages within the E-yarns. Use in performance demonstrated that a dancer was unimpeded by the presence of the E-yarns within the unitard, but also a weakness in the junctions between E-yarns was observed, requiring further design work and reinforcement. The level of visibility of the chosen red LEDs within black E-yarns was low. The project demonstrated the feasibility of using E-yarns with stretch fabrics. This will be particularly useful in applications where E-yarns containing sensors are required in close contact with skin to provide meaningful on-body readings, without impeding the wearer. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic yarn; E-yarn; LED-yarn; LED; stretch fabric; illuminated textiles; electronic textiles; E-textiles electronic yarn; E-yarn; LED-yarn; LED; stretch fabric; illuminated textiles; electronic textiles; E-textiles
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Hardy, D.A.; Moneta, A.; Sakalyte, V.; Connolly, L.; Shahidi, A.; Hughes-Riley, T. Engineering a Costume for Performance Using Illuminated LED-Yarns. Fibers 2018, 6, 35.

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