The Three-Body Problem is a science-fiction scene

The Three-Body Problem is a science-fiction scene
Everyone is a walking display, and this isn’t the stuff of science fiction.

What impressed Luo Ji most were the people he met along the way… Their clothes also reflect a gorgeous beautiful design, the style of everyone is different, some realistic some abstract.

“We’ll all know. Now take a good rest.” “The doctor sighed softly.” But you don’t know about that.” As he turned to go, dark clouds billowed over his white coat, and large eyes, some startled, some tearful, reflected on the nurse’s dress.

In Liu Cixin’s science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem, the main character, Luo Ji, sleeps for 185 years before arriving in 2211 A.D. At this point, people’s clothes have been able to change according to the wearer’s mood, change different colors, patterns, each clothing is equivalent to a display screen.

Although the year 2211 is still nearly 200 years away, it seems that the scene described in the book is not far off.

Just now, the journal Nature has published the results of a research by Peng Huisheng, a professor at the Department of Polymer Science at Fudan University, entitled “Large area display fabric and its functional integration system”.

As the name suggests, the fabric combines the preparation of display devices with the weaving process, allowing clothes to be used as a display, and can be washed and folded many times, making it of great practical value. The reviewer concluded that the research had “created important and valuable new knowledge”.


With the help of a processor, human brain waves can be converted into readable information and displayed on the fabric.

The fabric system includes a display screen, a keyboard and a power supply, so it can be used as a communication tool. It can be recharged by batteries or even powered by solar energy.

The display screen, keyboard and power supply in the fabric system, and their related modules.

Most importantly, it has functions such as input, communication and navigation, making it a “wearable device” in the true sense. You’re the brightest kid on the street, so to speak.

Input operations.

The Three-Body Problem is a science-fiction scene

Communication with the mobile phone operation.

· Wearable navigator.

The fabric is made of a kind of luminous fiber less than half a millimeter in diameter. The fibers come in a variety of colors and look not too different from regular yarn. In the weaving process, the interweaving of warp and woof threads can naturally form a dot matrix similar to the pixel array of a display.

Taking this as inspiration, the team focused on developing two kinds of functional fibers — polymer composite fibers loaded with luminescent active materials and transparent and conductive polymer gel fibers. Through the interweaving of the warp and weave of the two fibers in the weaving process, the electroluminescent units were formed, and the new flexible display fabric was realized by effective circuit control.

Professor Peng believes this could revolutionise communication and “help individuals with voice, speech or language difficulties express themselves to others”.

“We hope that this fabric material will change the way we interact with our devices and thus shape the next generation of electronic devices.” “Peng said.

In addition to Peng Huisheng, Chen Peining, an associate research fellow at the Advanced Materials Laboratory of Fudan University, is also the corresponding author of the paper. Shi Xiang and Zuo Yong, PhD and PhD students from the Department of Polymer Science, and Zhai Peng, PhD students from the Institute of Engineering and Applied Technology, were the first authors.

Second from left is Peng Huisheng, dean of the Department of Polymer Science, Fudan University. Source: WeChat official account of Fudan University.

Light warp + conductive weft = display fabric

Peng and her colleagues spent 10 years thinking about how to improve the existing technology and experimenting with different fibrous materials. Unfortunately, some materials either don’t show up in the dark or don’t perform well when the fibers are woven.

After many failed attempts, a turning point came. They made their breakthrough by looking at the fabric structure and the way the warps and wefts interweave.

Based on their observations of the fabric, they decided to create tiny dots of light where the fibers intersects, using luminous warp and conductive weft yarns made of cotton or similar fibers.

After testing different combinations, they chose silver-plated warp yarns coated with light-emitting composites and conductive dimension yarns made of a gel. Figure 1 shows the mechanical characteristics of luminous warp yarn, transparent conductive weft yarn and their contact area:

Now that the “threads” of the fabric are ready, the next step is to weave them together.

The team used cotton cloth to weave luminescent warp and conductive weft yarns into a large display fabric 6 m long and 25 cm wide, containing approximately 5 x 10^5 EL units. The data showed that 600 of the EL units had relative deviations of luminescent intensity between -6.3% and 5.2%, indicating that these fibers are well suited for making large-area display fabrics.

In addition, these EL units not only have excellent luminous performance, but also remain stable in brightness after 1000 bending, stretching and pressing tests.

The following figure (left) shows the properties of the EL unit, and the following figure (right) shows the structure and EL properties of the fabric:

How about the durability of this display fabric? Leaving the fabric in the open for a month and undergoing 100 wash-and-dry cycles and 10,000 folds, the team said, would still maintain a steady brightness.

The following figure shows the durability performance of polyurethane ion gel fiber and EL unit:

Ultimately, Professor Peng hopes the material can help people overcome communication problems due to health problems or language barriers, and the team will continue to make improvements, including increasing the brightness and resolution of the display, as well as the color types of the dots.