Smart Clothing: The Unexpected Tech Revolution

Your clothes may become the medium through which all the world's electronic devices are connected. Soft screens woven into fabric may mean one less thing you must carry with you.

What's the Latest Development?


A Canadian laboratory is experimenting with special fibers that could be woven into the fabric of your clothing to make soft, interactive screens, putting control of all your electronic devices literally at arms length. The lab turned to the manufacturing process used to create the optical fibers that carry TV and Internet signals. "The technique allowed the Canadian team to make new polymer-based fibers based on melting the preformed material to pull out a long, thin fiber shape."

What's the Big Idea?

One requirement for next-generation clothing is that humans remain unaware they are wearing a powerful electronic device. "It has to be self-contained piece that can charge itself, store energy and perform useful functions. Otherwise, it's an extra burden that nobody needs in our lives," said one physicist working on the project. Among clothing manufacturers, a psychological barrier may exist to working with completely new fibers, particularly ones that carry an electric charge and receive Internet signals.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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