Epson invests in conductive textile startup AI Silk

Epson and its subsidiary Epson X Investment Corporation (EXI) have invested in Japanese start-up company AI Silk Corporation through a joint fund, the EP-GB Investment Limited Partnership. 

AI Silk, a startup that spun out of Tohoku University develops and manufactures Lead Skin, a high-performance conductive textile. Both AI Silk and Lead Skin are registered trademarks of AI Silk Corporation.

Conductive textiles have been used as materials for automotive parts and wearable devices in applications such as biological measurement and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS).

However, according to the company, there have been several developmental issues, such as sensing accuracy affected by conductive resistance or rust affecting comfort and safety. There have also been problems in terms of manufacturing cost and durability. Lead Skin solves these issues.

AI Silk has succeeded in making various materials conductive, including silk, polyester, nonwoven fabrics and suede. This was achieved by adopting a proprietary conductive polymer coating technology based on technology invented at Tohoku University. This technology improves sensing accuracy by reducing conductive resistance. It also improves the feel, texture, comfort, and durability of the textile while also reducing manufacturing costs.

AI Silk intends to use this third-party allotment of shares to expand the production volume production of Lead Skin.

The company plans to expand beyond Japan and to sell the conductive textile as a material to meet the growing global demand for automotive parts and wearable devices such as EMS products. It is also considering expanding into the medical field.

Epson aims to give people lifestyle choices and enable them to live enriched lifestyles founded on physical and mental well-being. Epson decided to invest in AI Silk because it sees Lead Skin as an interface technology for converting biological data captured through daily life into new value.

Epson has future plans to help achieve a sustainable society by creating a variety of partnerships and synergies based on its proprietary technologies, products and services.

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