by Johanna Mischke

August 29, 2016

Inkjet Printing of Graphene – Interview with Flextrapower Founder Linh Le

Linh Le recently started Flextrapower to bring innovative sensing technology into clothing and more. You can meet Linh at the WT | Wearable Technologies Conference 2016 ASIA on October 12 in Hong Kong. Find out more Flextrapower in our interview:

First of all congratulations to your groundbreaking development. How did you come up with the idea in the first place?
During my graduate work, I have always been interested in carbonaceous material for electronic applications. Early 2010, I was introduced to a fairly new nanomaterial called  graphene and I was amazed by the great mechanical and electrical properties graphene has. I started to investigate the application of graphene flexible electrode for energy storage system, such as battery and supercapacitor using the inkjet printing technology as the main fabrication method. Later I quickly found out several other new applications as sensor element with slight modifications on the original invention.

Your development can currently measure Body Temperature, Breathing Rate, Pulse, Steps, and Sleep. However, the website indicates that you are looking into measuring even more. Can you disclose some of the features you are looking into for the future?
Yes, we’re investigating some more physiological indications including blood pressure and EMG, EKR, EEG capability. We started with individual resistance based sensor for body temperature and breathing rate so the integration with clothing step is not too complicated. In the future, we’ll also look into incorporating both sensor matrix as well as non-analog sensor once we better understand the technical difficulty from clothing brands and customer need from consumers.

There is quite a hype around graphene. In your opinion what makes it great for wearable applications?
Graphene has been named “wonderful” materials for the last 5 years, however, I think that technology will need again 4-5 years for technical maturity and supply chain to bring to end user. In my opinion, current wearable applications were identified roughly as gadget-type devices, which using conventional electronic components with some limited application such as step count and activity level. Graphene has great potential to play a very important role in the overlapping between fabric industry and electronic industry as the most flexible yet strong material. We think that our invention really set a small stepping stone in deposit graphene material into fabric swatch. Now we call it smart fabric, but it will be normal fabric in a very near future. I do believe that wearable technology should be incorporated into clothing as a true wearable form that so people can wear every day comfortably.

Learn more about Graphene and Flextrapower’s first product line “Bonbouton” at WTASIA16 !