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Engineers Create a Programmable Fiber

By MIT News

June 4, 2021

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The first programmable digital fiber has been designed by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

The researchers deposited silicon microscale digital chips into a preform that was used to fabricate a polymer fiber, which could support continuous electrical connection between the chips across tens of meters.

The fiber also incorporates a neural network of 1,650 links within its memory.

When sewed into a shirt, the fiber collected 270 minutes of surface body temperature data from the wearer, and when trained on this data could determine the wearer's current activity with 96% accuracy.

MIT's Yoel Fink said, "This work presents the first realization of a fabric with the ability to store and process data digitally, adding a new information content dimension to textiles and allowing fabrics to be programmed literally."

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