Industry 4.0 and IoT will lead to the democratization of connected or so-called e-textiles. Despite the current trend, the textile and electronics industries did not merge successfully yet. E-textiles are not yet practical, comfortable or long lasting. Based on 5 years of R&D at ETH Zürich, the founders of nanoleq have developed elastic materials with the world’s best conductivity. Highly stretchable, light, corrosion-resistant and easy to integrate, our industrial connectivity solution of cables and electrodes will enable the e-textile market to take off.
The team is now composed of 9 people covering various competences from sales to electrical, material and textile engineering. With only seed money, the team has been able to rapidly establish a cable production with a current speed of 200m/hour. Furthermore, a pilot line has been set up for the fabrication of best-performing electrodes on the market. By end 2020, we expect to reach an industrial throughput of 1km/hour for PhantomTape and 1’000pcs/hour for ElectroSkin by Q2 2020. Since Dec 2019, 30 companies have placed orders for testing and integrating our 2 products into smart garments – 10 of which we decided to work with for 2020. Pre-series of final garments featuring our technology will be produced in summer 2020 and will hit the market in Q4 2020.
Problem or Opportunity
Do you wear e-textiles? E-textiles are clothes, which integrate electronics to become interactive and functional. E-shirts already exist and can monitor our muscle activity, breathing and body temperature while doing sport. In the coming years, e-jackets will save workers from electric shocks; posture shirts will ensure correct body posture; stimulation suits will even make partially paralyzed people walk again; soldiers’ jackets will be equipped with biosensors to anticipate life threats. E-textiles will actively keep us warm, provide cooling, telecommunication, exoskeletal muscle support and much more. The future will see the democratization and standardization of e-textiles as they will bring tremendous benefits in the daily life as well as in sports, workwear, medical, military and automotive applications. However despite the trend toward smart textiles, the textile and electronics industries did not merge successfully yet. E-textiles are not yet practical, comfortable or long lasting. This is because they mostly rely on rigid wires and bulk metals, which are not elastic and corrode when exposed to washing. In fact, the lack of a suitable technology to form electrical circuits on textiles has been identified as the main hurdle for a large-scale adoption and industrialization of e-textiles.
Solution (product or service)
We are material experts with a strong expertise in the field of stretchable electronics. Our material technology was designed by a team of engineers at ETH Zürich (best European engineering university) where we originally developed stretchable and electrical implants. Over the last 7 years, we have optimized this material technology, which resulted in the most conductive rubber in the world. At nanoleq AG (May 2017), we are bringing the next generation of elastic conductors to the textile industry with our first 2 products: PhantomTape, the first truly stretchable cables for textile integration and ElectroSkin, the soft dry electrodes with the best-in-class conductivity and performance. Our customers value them as the enabling components in several sport, workwear and medical smart garments. Our elastic conductors make e-textiles comfortable, smooth and durable and are therefore, essential for the long awaited scale-up of the smart textile market.
Our cable & electrode solution is: - the first full connectivity solution for ECG-EMG-EEG and stimulation, - the first truly stretchable solution, - the first corrosion-resistant solution (against washing and sweat).
Money will be spent on
Investment of EUR 1.5m Global sales and related marketing activities for launch of PhantomTape and ElectroSkin
Investment of EUR 2.5m Full automation of PhantomTape and ElectroSkin production
Investment of EUR 1m Development of the next sensing product
Goals: > EUR 2m turnover in 2021 and breakeven in 2022