Wearables are having a significant impact on the way people live thanks to advances in technologyInternet of Things (IoT), big data and artificial intelligence.
However, highlighting the striking boom of technology in the textile industry, which is no longer limited to the design and production of clothes. Now, the technology is becoming part of the textile itself with smart clothing.
These include (at present yes, because they already exist) sensors and powerful electronic components in the fabric of a material. The smart clothes uses a variety of sensors to collect biometric and physical data from the user, such as body temperature and heart rate.
The data generated by the sensor is transferred to applications on a smartphone via Bluetooth, where they are available for users to view. Smart clothing can incorporate advanced textile fibers, microelectronics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Components of smart clothing: AI, microelectronics, biotechnology…
advances in materials science are adding new functionality to textiles. Conductive metals, fibers, and polymers can be added to textiles to enable sensory capabilities, electrical conductivity, and data transmission in clothing.
3D printing is mainly associated with prototyping in industries. It is a developing trend in the textile industry and it is making more and more progress in smart clothing. In 2019, researchers from Tsinghua University in China used a 3D printer to make patterns and draw images and letters on silk, giving him the ability to transform movement into energy.
Most smart clothes these days use lithium-ion batteries, which require charging. Consequently, some organizations are evaluating the use of alternative energy sources.
In 2021, a collaboration of researchers from the University of Bath in the UK, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Germany and the University of Coimbra in Portugal developed nylon fibers that produced electricity from body movements.
The European Union (EU) plays an active role in developing alternative energy sources for electronics, including clothing. Thermo Tex, an EU-funded initiative, explored thermoelectric textiles that harvest the wearer’s body heat to power electronics.
Sensors are at the heart of smart clothing. The data they generate allows users to monitor their health and fitness. However, clothes are washed regularly and damage the built-in sensors. The scientists they are working on sensors that can withstand multiple washings and still work effectively.
The use of AI in smart clothing is currently limited to virtual fitness training systems. Startups like Sensoria offer an AI-based in-app coach that guides wearers of their smart shirts to improve their performance using performance analytics based on data generated by the garments.
In 2019, Google began including certain aspects of its Assistant conversation platform on Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket. Users can get directions and Receive answers to pre-recorded questions about the time, weather, and news by making preset gestures on your jacket cuff.
The Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard Jacket: smart clothing to another level
The Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard Jacket is the first fabric made with conductive thread. This means that while you are using it, it can Automatically detect whether or not your smartphone is in your pocket or bag, and if it is there, it will connect to your mobile.
You can also control your music, answer calls and interact with the Google Assistant without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. The jacket was originally designed to keep cyclists hands free while enjoying a ride, but it’s now available to anyone.
As you can see, this is just the beginning and smart clothing is going to give a lot to talk about, although surely there will also be some criticism in the coming years.