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Electronically Active Yarns

Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

Research theme: Medical Technologies and Advanced Materials

School: School of Art & Design


Despite a surge in research interest in the field of electronic textiles in the 1990s and developments over the last decade, many still rely on the addition of electronics to existing garments, or on the production of specialty products such as arm or chest bands.

However, Professor Dias has now developed ground-breaking technology to incorporate semi-conductor dice (chips) into the core of yarns in a way that the desired textile characteristics of flexibility, conformability and softness are retained.
The research will lead to the integration of electronic textiles into the Internet of things and ultimately clothing-based wearable computing. Clothing and other textile products will be able to sense, monitor, record changes in the surroundings and respond appropriately.


Tilak Dias is the Professor of Knitting at Nottingham Trent University. He is the founder and the leader of the Advanced Textiles Research Group in the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University. Professor Dias has a background in electronics, textiles and electronic textiles and a track record in exploiting his research.

The intellectual property of his work has been protected with 41 patent applications with 24 already granted. In addition, Professor Dias’ research has resulted in the creation three spin-out companies in the UK for the commercialisation of the above IP.

The main focus of his current work is in the area of electronic textiles where the objective is to embed integrated circuit chips within the fibres of yarns.

Making a Difference

Professor Dias is pioneering methods of burying semiconductor packaged dice within the fibres of yarns, using a conformable polymer resin to bind the chip with the fibres of the yarn at predetermined intervals without compromising fabric manufacture. The encapsulation hermitically seals the chip thus protecting it from all forms of stresses (mechanical, thermal, chemical, etc.).

This will produce intelligent electronic yarn capable of physical sensing, signal processing, transmitting and receiving, which will form the basic building blocks of truly flexible, drapeable and washable textile computers in the near future, creating a new generation of smart textiles.