Smart Fabrics using Bio-material based Inks

The researchers are expecting a lot more innovation with these inks which are bioactive making the fabric or any gadget smart where it is printed on.


Engineering sectors developed biomaterial-based inks that respond to and quantify chemicals released from the body. Those includes of sweat and other biofluids or even fuels that could be detected in the nearby environment through changing colour. Screen printing of those colours can be done onto the textiles such as clothes, shoes or even in face masks with complex patterns and at high resolution that provides a clear image of an individual. Wearable sensing reported to be as Advanced Materials, could simultaneously detect and quantify a wide range of biological conditions, molecules and, possibly, pathogens that are deposited over the surface of the body using conventional garments and uniforms. Wide range of conditions is detectable with mass-production of garments like clothes, shoes, masks, etc., with a large number of sensors with novel bioactive inks with the very common method of screen printing.



Human performance and health are monitored in a considerable amount with wearable sensing devices. Such devices are invented by integrating electronics in wearable things like, wristbands, clothes and other everyday things that help in monitoring both heart rate and blood glucose. But this research completes with non-electronic colourimetrical detection of a huge number analysis by sensing clothes which will be distributed to cover the massive areas. That is anything from a patch to the entire body, and beyond.



Biologically active compounds like silk-based inks that are soluble silk substrate in these ink formulations can be modified by embedding various “reporter” molecules. They are pH-sensitive indicators or enzymes like lactate oxidase to indicate levels of lactate in sweat. The former can be associate degree indicator of skin health or dehydration, whereas the latter might indicate fatigue levels of the user. Other alternative derivatives of the inks will develop the flexibility to the silk fibroin macromolecule by modifying it with active molecules like with chemicals sensitive, antibodies, enzymes and dyes. Whereas the potential molecules can be unstable on their own, they will become shelf-stable once embedded within the silk fibroin within the ink formulation.



The inks are developed for the applications like screen printing by combining with sodium alginate and glycerol as a softener. Then bio-inks that is screen printable will be used like typical ink used for screen printing, and then will be applied not just to garments but also to numerous surfaces like plastics, paper and wood to get patterns starting from microns to meters. And the changing of colour bestowed by the inks will give a visible cue to the presence or absence of an analyte, using the camera, imaging analysis and scanning the clothes or alternative material will collect additional precise information on both large quantity and high-quality resolutions even sub-millimetre accuracy.



The technology builds work by researchers who developed silk inks that is bioactive used for inkjet-printing to make Petri dishes, laboratory gloves, and paper sensors which will show the microorganism contamination by colours changing.