09 Apr 2003
An optical fiber sewing machine is allowing a Korean company to make light-emitting clothes, bags and hats.
An optical fiber sewing robot called OSERO is lighting up the world of fashion. The device is the brainchild of Decoray of Korea and allows the company to create custom-designed clothes, bags and baseball caps that feature illuminated logos and images of animals.
Decoray uses OSERO to sew optical fibers (between 0.25 and 0.5 mm in diameter) into a patch of material which is then integrated into the product. Decoray says its technology works with common materials such as denim and leather. The company uses LEDs to light up the fibers and to date it has integrated red, yellow, green, blue and white LEDs into its designs.
A simple processor is also included which turns the LEDs on in sequence to make animations. Decoray has already produced animations such as an eagle flapping its wings (on the back of a leather jacket) and animals moving across the bottom of a rucksack. To see examples of the animations and the products, please browse Decoray's website.
Either two lithium or four standard AAA batteries are used to power the LEDs. Decoray says the lithium batteries can last up to 80 hours depending on the number of LEDs while the AAA's have a lifetime up to 300 hours.
The company is now patenting the OSERO technology that produces these so-called "radiating characters". OSERO is a computer-controlled robot that follows a design template in a graphic file. Using two needles, it can sew over a maximum area of 570 x 420 mm. According to Decoray, the end product is water-resistant and the patch is both safe and secure.
"We will make the best products with the combination of optical fiber and artistic design and lead the total fashion industry home and abroad," said Jae-Woo Park, the company's CEO.
Further details of the technology are described in international patent application WO 03/027722: "Optical fiber sewing machine and manufacturing method of products produced using it".
Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.