Microflex Project Summary

The Microflex project is a Framework program 7 EU funded project and was submitted to the FP7-NMP-2007-Large-1 call.

The Microflex project is concerned with flexible materials in the form of high added value smart fabrics/textiles which are able to sense stimuli and react or adapt to them in a predetermined way.

The challenge for the European textile industries is to add advanced functions to textiles and the recent progress of new technologies, such as electronic inks, provide an opportunity for a breakthrough by incorporating MEMS on flexible textiles/fabrics.

Microflex will exploit micro fabrication to produced, using custom printing process, active functions cost efficiently. We propose to develop fundamental micro fabrication production technologies for MEMS on fabrics/textiles using flagship demonstrator applications. This will result in a cheap, east to design, flexible, rapid way to manufacture multifunction smart textiles/garments for a large set of multi-sectorial applications.

The processes used during the project will be based on thick film printing, inkjet printing and sacrificial etching for the MEMS. These printing processes have many benefits including low-cost, repeatability, flexibility, suitability for high throughput production, relatively inexpensive equipment, short development time and the capability of depositing a wide range of materials. All the novel printed inks will be electrically activated sensors and actuators and will use standard electronic devices for power supply/storage, signal processing and communications offering low price and mass production.

Microflex will undertake a number of initial demonstrators of the underlying basic technology. These will be based on: light emission, cooling/heating, anti-static effect, energy harvesting, micro-encapsulation and actuation. Microflex is a perfect example of the transformation of a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive industry.


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