Turning Your Favorite Clothes into "Smart" Wearables

Turning Your Favorite Clothes into "Smart" Wearables

Pireta can add conductive patterns directly onto fabric without changing the clothes’ performance – and they can do it at any stage in the manufacturing process.

Using a free-form process for printing conductive patterns, Pireta embeds a conductive metallic layer into almost any fabric on the fiber-level, rendering the textile itself conductive without degrading its materials properties. This means Pireta can enhance standard clothes with component interconnects, antennas, RF circuits, physiological sensors, environmental sensors, and energy harvesting devices while still leaving your outfits stretchable, breathable, washable, and comfortable.

The company’s entire process for turning textiles conductive involves five discrete steps:

1.       Pre-treating the textile

2.       Applying a chemical linker

3.       Jet printing a nanometal catalyst onto the fabric

4.       Developing functionality using an electroless plating process

5.       Adding a protective layer to prevent oxidation

Pireta spun out of the National Physics Laboratory in 2017, receiving seed funding from the UK government, and raising an additional €500,000 from private investors in 2018. Its founder and CTO, Chris Hunt, is a chartered PhD physicist, chair of the UK IMAPS and IEC committees, and an inventor of Pireta’s patent-pending technology. The company’s CCO, Ian Russell, has over 20 years’ experience managing early stage business ventures, and he has led three successful sales of tech businesses to publicly listed companies.

“I anticipate our process at Pireta being used widely in the production of e-textiles and smart garments and for us to have some role in operating the process using our own manufacturing facilities,” noted Ian Russell when asked where he sees the company in 5-10 years. “In addition, we are expecting to license our technology to a number of high-volume manufacturing partners. Pireta will, of course, continue to develop and enhance our technology and process. Our goal is for Pireta to become synonymous with e-textiles and intelligent garments.

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