Fiber optic fabric also known as luminous fabric or photoluminescent fabric is relatively a new type of fabric based on optical fibers or LEDs. A global electronics giant Philips was one of the early producers of fiber optic fabric. Fiber optic fabric uses low voltage (35V) batteries to provide a pleasant glow in any color. Custom designs can produce a variety of densities allowing patterns or images to be incorporated into the fabric. Luminous fabric is a good example of a product that is just getting started, and its adoption would be an interesting case study in product economics and sociology.
Brief History of Fiber Optic Fabric
Since fiber optics was invented in the 1970s, companies have pioneered the idea of luminous fabrics, but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that the technology was really viable. It’s thanks to the progress of optical sciences and materials. The luminous fabric is interesting because, although it was only recently available, it revealed some creative uses that could determine its popularity with customers. Besides fiber optic clothing some of the popular fiber optic items are light cushions, table placements, bedspreads, curtains, paintings, etc.
Work is underway to place sensors in the lightweight fabric that will allow it to respond to environmental signals such as temperature, humidity or wind. A room covered with a heat-sensitive fabric can be an incredible sight. A blouse that responds to vibrations produced by the heart would be a truly unique class of clothing and a new form of human expression. The potential of this fabric is clearly huge and we believe it will emerge in homes, restaurants and clubs in the years to come.
Fiber Optic Cable
Data transmission is done by wired and wireless means. Two types of infrastructure are used for cable transmission, copper and fiber optic. Fiber optic cables are preferred for long distances where copper cables are insufficient.
Fiber optic cables are cables that contain glass and can be easily directed to the light passing through them. Fiber optic cables are not exposed to electromagnetic effects like metal cables. Due to its fiber optic cable structure, it passes light through and provides data transmission with light.
Fiber optic technology also used in fiber optic fabric sends data in the form of light rather than electrically and transmits faster, is especially used in internet infrastructure. In addition, fiber optic cables, which are also used for close distances in important data centers, are preferred due to their high bandwidth and high capacity data transport per unit time. Less affected by electromagnetic interference and disturbances, data signals reach further targets through these cables without attenuation. Fiber cables consist of two basic parts, the central core and the sheath. Since the sheath is produced from a material that refracts less light, the light beam sent from the core is reflected by hitting the sheath and reaches its target by drawing zigzags.
Fiber optic cable types are divided into Multi Mode and Single Mode. Core part of Multi Mode fiber cable is thicker than Single Mode. Multi Mode cables used for short distances can send more than one light at the same time and it’s commonly used in fiber optic fabric. Single Mode fiber cable, on the other hand, can transmit data over longer distances by sending a single light at the same time. Fiber cables have 5 types of optical properties as OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 and OM5. These values represent the maximum distances that the data can reach, depending on the transmission rate.