Researchers in Japan have developed a stretchy conductive ink for wearable tech

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

An ink has been created which can be printed on textiles in a single step to form conductive and stretchable connections.

This will enable wearable tech such as sportswear and underwear incorporating sensing devices for biological indicators such as heart rate and muscle contraction.

Current printed electronics can be placed on plastic or paper but these tend to be rigid or hard.

The ink, which contains silver flakes, was developed by Professor Takao Someya and his research group at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering.

Electrodes, wires, and via holes can be printed by a single step printing process. The muscle activity sensor was produced by printing once on each side of the material’s surface. Image: (c) 2015 Someya Laboratory

When printed, the ink can be stretched to more than three times its original length.

“Our team aims to develop comfortable wearable devices,” says Someya.

The ink was announced in the journal Nature Communications.

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