Conductive Thread

Conductive Thread netted in a smart textile
Conductive Thread

Conductive thread is a type of thread that performs as a normal thread, but can be used to connect electronic components in a garment without the use of stiff circuitry or integrating wires. For the last 10 years Conductive threads have been considered the future of Textile innovation. They offer the opportunity to create garments that are both light and incredible functional acting as a electrical device with out the added electronics.

Production Process

The production usually involves a fiber such as cotton or polyester bound tightly with an alloy such as silver, copper, tin, or nickel. There are many varying kinds of conductive threads that change in ply, strength, resistance, materials, and – of course – appearance.

the Rise of Wearable Devices

The use of conductive thread is becoming more and more prominent in the use of wearable technology. With wearable devices moving towards invisibility, the concept of your smart wearable acting as a “second skin” via direct clothing integration is on the rise. the day will come where you will put on a EKG t-shirt to continously monitor the electrical signals of the heart over long periods of time.

True Smart Textiles

Conductive threads’ integration into smart textiles have innumerable uses, including lacing a fabric with LED lights or creating a system of sewn connections for pressure sensors. The abilities of conductive threads have spanned from the fashion worlds to the functional world alike. imagine a bed sheet that is able to track the amount of times you roll over as well as how hot or cold you run through out the night.

Medical Garments

Many companies we work with are already experimenting with these materials in the medical garment industry; the use of conductive fabrics directly into medical garments allows for maximum patient comfort and adoption, as well as for highly accurate vitals monitoring due to max body coverage.

The use of conductive thread combined with sensor technology in a medical vest could provide thorough and deeper insight into the vitals of the patient, and could allow for remote treatment from a medical specialist while the patient and doctor are not physically together.

Our Trials with Conductive Thread

Our experience with the use of conductive thread in our medical wearable garments is positive. This thread provides an exponentially more comfortable and convenient fit for the device user, and makes for easier development and production when our prototyping and sewing teams don’t have to worry about how heavier (and likely, more delicate) technology will be protected and securely integrated into the design.

Conductive threads mass utilization is on the horizon at some point…. We haven’t seen any new applications of the technology explode onto the seen like we expected it would back around 2016-17, but we suspect that as more and more mills continue to create threads with alternative allows, higher plys, or different constructions altogether. Its just a matter of time before a major product development happens in the space. One thing is certain – the use of conductive thread is on the cusp of mass integration in wearable devices, both medical and recreational.