AI Silk: Freeing the Future by Turning Silk into Sensors

As we head towards a future where the rise in adoption of cognitive technologies is inevitable, thinking out of the box seems to be key when it comes to the evolution of material design. With an increase of intelligence in our garments expected in the not too distant future, the latest innovation to come to our attention is  AI silk. Developed by a forward thinking Japanese company, AI Silk is determined to ‘free the future’ with their super silk material.


Founded in 2015 by Hideo Okano, AI Silk has found a way of producing electrodes that reduce risks and challenges of conventional medical electrodes, known to cause discomfort, skin and in vivo inflammation, and measurement failure due to sweat or other elements. They have done this by giving electrode functionality to the fibre itself, lowering the risk of unwanted irritation. “It is stress-free for elderly people and those with sensitive skin, and, besides, its function as an electrode is resilient to deterioration after many washes, ensuring it can be used for a long period while maintaining a very hygienic state,” claims their website.


Combining science and technology AI Silk has successfully turned silk into sensors, creating a new material with diverse and robust application potential. Produced using natural silk, the scientist gave the material conductivity via a dyeing technique.  One of the impressive characteristics presented by the material is that it is capable of collecting vital data to help manage health risks and also assist users when it comes to training and rehabilitating without distractions.


Another critical characteristic of AI Silk is its high conductivity. Reported to be as high as 100Ω/sq resistance, the fabric will hardly deteriorate even after numerous washing cycles. This makes it the perfect material, not only for medical use, but also for active sports, where exposure to sweat will not negatively affect its conductivity.


Designed to make everyday activities more comfortable, AI Silk’s conductivity makes it possible for it to aid those having difficulties with certain activities after an injury. They have made this possible by attaching PEDOT-pTS to the textile using chemical polymerisation. This has allowed them to achieve high conductivity,  high-precision measuring, and also reduce the unpleasant tingling sensation caused by stimulation to the muscles.


Developed from scratch, AI Silk’s  electricity-conducting textile is a technique that will not only be applied to a diverse range of textiles, but they also plan to use their printing technology to manufacture textiles in a way that only the required parts are conductive.

Written by Muchaneta Kapfunde


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