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'Lumalive' textile presents variable LED display

29 Aug 2006

A novel display-embedded textile from Philips Research can turn clothes into walking dynamic advertisements.

Philips Research, Eindhoven, Netherlands, is expecting to impress visitors at this year's IFA show (Internationale Funkausstellung, 1-6 September, Berlin, Germany) with the world's first demonstration of promotional jackets and furniture featuring the company's Lumalive technology.

Lumalive textiles allow the creation of fabrics that can carry dynamic advertisements, graphics and constantly changing color surfaces. Philips stand at the IFA show in Hall 22 will be a showcase for Lumalive textile products that will be worn by Philips' staff and embedded into booth furniture of the "Future Zone".

Although the technology has been developed only recently -early prototypes were exhibited at IFA 2005- Philips Research has made progress in fully integrating Lumalive fabrics into garments. The first-generation jackets are ready for commercialization by companies partnering with Philips Research, particularly those in the promotional industry looking for a new, high-impact medium.

Lumalive fabrics feature flexible arrays of colored LEDs integrated into the fabric - without compromising the softness or flexibility of the cloth. The light emitting textiles can carry dynamic messages, graphics or multicolored surfaces. Fabrics such as drapes, cushions or sofa coverings become active when they illuminate in order to enhance the observer's mood and positively influence his/her behavior.

The jackets are said to be comfortable to wear, and the Lumalive fabrics only become obvious when they light up to display various vivid colored patterns, logos, short text messages or even full color animations.

The electronics, batteries and LED arrays are fully integrated and invisible to the observer and wearer. The jackets feature panels of up to 200x200 mm2, although the active sections can be scaled up to cover much larger areas such as a sofa.

"Taking the Lumalive fabrics from prototypes to integrated products has been a major challenge," said Bas Zeper, managing director of Photonic Textiles, Philips Research. "The light emitting textiles have to be flexible, durable and operated by reasonably compact batteries. Fitting all that into a comfortable, lightweight garment is a considerable engineering success."

"Last year Philips Research showed our research prototypes; this year the jackets and furniture represent versions that are ready to go into commercial production, and include integrated power sources and control electronics," added Zeper.

The products include features that make them practical for daily use. For example, when integrating the Lumalive fabrics into the garment, Philips Research has made the parts that can't be easily washed - such as the batteries and control electronics-simple to disconnect and reconnect after the garment has been cleaned. Even the light-emitting layer can be easily removed and refitted to the jacket.

Philips Research is inviting potential partners to discuss the commercialization potential of the material at IFA 2006 where the company's booth is acting as a showcase for the technology and a focal point for discussions.

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