Time to make a difference

The world’s first screen-printed digital watch on fabric has been developed by a University of Southampton engineering student.

World first - a screen-printed digital watch Electromechanical engineering MEng student Marc de Vos is the man behind a world first – a smart fabric, screen-printed, electroluminescent watch display, developed as part of his third year project and created using the thick-film printing facilities in the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre clean room.

“The project has given me the chance to put the theory learnt over the last three years into practice and led to my involvement in the brand new field of printed smart fabrics,” Marc proudly notes.

Smart fabrics

His project is a continuation of the development of smart fabrics as part of the EU FP7 Microflex project that was successfully completed within the department.

Layer by layer

The watch display is printed layer by layer directly onto fabric using screen-printable pastes with electronic functionality including conduction, insulation and electroluminescence.

“Marc has been able to access the world-class facilities available in the department to produce his prototype,” says project supervisor Dr Russel Torah, Senior Research Fellow in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

International presentation opportunities

Marc’s work was selected for presentation at the annual Smart Textiles Salon, held this May in Ghent, Belgium. This event showcases prototype smart fabrics from industry and academia to a wide European audience.

“Presenting his work at the conference shows what is possible for our undergraduate students to achieve during their time here,’ Dr Torah adds.