A lot has been written about functional clothing with integrated printed electronics yet not too many shorts or shirts with sensors have appeared on the shelves of sporting goods stores. The Canadian-based AIA Labs/Myant is trying to change that. The company puts electronics and textile design, development and production under one roof, thus ensuring that all parts of the process are working together toward the desired solution.
One of their products that AIA Labs, which is short for Architects of Intelligent Applications, showcased is a backpack cover with electroluminescent lighting, another a biometric shirt that measures breathing volume. Myant also partnered with Cornell University for a fashion show featuring garments that flashed to the beat of music. Yet the market for wearable electronics is much wider. Myant sees applications in the fields of healthcare, industrial applications for uniforms to monitor health and safety signals in extreme environments, wellness and consumer applications that connect shoppers to a specific brand.
Located in Toronto, Myant’s facilities include a printed electronics laboratory, design studio, cut and sew floor and computerized knitting division. “Having a printed electronics lab onsite is one of Myant’s most important advantages in producing wearable technology”, the company states. An impressive array of technology is ready for production including roll mills for powder compounding, thermal and UV curing ovens as wells as UV digital printers, among others. Myant’s lab scientists can print electronics through both sheet-based and roll-to-roll processes.
Myant ensures that its printed electronics products are ready for the real world. Its testing facilities include equipment that can put the clothing through countless washing cycles and mimic extreme weather conditions. But in the end, it’s the functionality and ease of wear that is most likely to win over consumers. It looks like Myant is truly looking at creating a holistic user experience: The company employs not only fashion designers and industrial designers but also physicists, chemists, kinesiologists and doctors.
Photos: Jason Koski/University Photography/ Cornell Chronicle