With the advent of wearable electronic devices in our daily lives, there is a need for soft, flexible, and conformable devices that can provide electronic capabilities without sacrificing comfort. Electronic textiles (e-textiles) combine electronic capabilities of devices such as sensors, actuators, energy harvesting and storage devices, and communication devices with the comfort and conformability of conventional textiles. An important method to fabricate such devices is by coating conventionally used fibers and yarns with electrically conductive materials to create flexible capacitors, resistors, transistors, batteries, and circuits. Textiles constitute an obvious choice for deployment of such flexible electronic components due to their inherent conformability, strength, and stability. Coating a layer of electrically conducting material onto the textile can impart electronic capabilities to the base material in a facile manner. Such a coating can be done at any of the hierarchical levels of the textile structure, i.e., at the fiber, yarn, or fabric level. This review focuses on various electrically conducting materials and methods used for coating e-textile devices, as well as the different configurations that can be obtained from such coatings, creating a smart textile-based system.
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