Today’s light sources are typically characterized as rigid and relatively small. Thanks to continuing advances in the development of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), lighting no longer needs to be tethered to lamps or fixtures. Formed in September 2011, the i-Tex (intelligent and luminous textiles) project team has developed flexible and large-scale textile- and LED-based lighting demonstrators that offer designers and architects new opportunities.
The i-Tex team is a consortium of research and industry organizations with extensive expertise in lighting and textile technologies. It includes five partners: Philips, Sioen, the Fraunhofer EMFT, the French Institute for Clothing and Textiles (IFTH), and the Eindhoven University of Technology. Working together with funding from the European Union (Project i-Tex, FP7-ICT 288262), the team has established a basis for industrial deployment of the project results for large lighting surfaces.
Future lighting solutions will be driven by requirements of affordable total cost of ownership and a growing consumer need for intelligent lighting systems and higher performance. The i-Tex project has addressed these requirements by combining various technologies from the fields of lighting, textiles, and electronics. Low-power LEDs and miniaturized sensors were integrated into textiles, utilizing flexible electronics and roll-to-roll textile processing. The textiles are coated with special smart materials for adding optical functionality as well as mechanical strength and waterproofing to the systems. This technological approach has yielded a cost-competitive, reliable roll-to-roll manufacturing process for integrating light and sensor systems in coated textiles, enabling unique design possibilities and novel user interfaces for large-area illumination.
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