Neckties That Charge Your Phone; Great – But Hawaiian Shorts In Winter?

RSS

Integrating electronics into clothing will provide cutting edge developments in medical and military related apparel and some innovations on the fashion catwalks

 

Intelligent fabrics that can change color, charge a phone and keep you warm in cold weather are being hailed as the future of fashion.

Researchers are already working on smart clothes where very fine conductive threads will be woven into fabric and will allow the harvesting and storage of energy from the wearer's body.

What this means is that tomorrow's clothing could offer some extreme advantageous and useful technical possibilities in certain applications like military uniforms, for example. Conversely, it could also offer some visually horrendous opportunities that would allow the more fashion extrovert amongst us to wear Hawaiian shirts and shorts in winter, knowing the fabric will keep them warm.

Whereas this all sounds a tad sci-fi and unrealistic it is a fact that we are already seeing the embryonic stages of intelligent apparel finding its way into medical and sports clothing.

For military uniforms smart fabrics could seriously reduce the amount of batteries and cabling that are part of a soldier's kit

In fact British soldiers' uniforms could soon use electrically conducting material woven into the uniform that would replace some of cumbersome batteries and cabling that make up today's standard uniform issue.

UK-based Intelligent Textiles has patented a number of techniques for weaving complex conductive fabrics. Currently, separate batteries may be required for each piece of a soldier's equipment, which adds to their carrying load as well as being costly. What these smart uniforms could do is remove the hindrance of the many wires and cables required in military equipment. These can add weight and tangle and snag in combat situations.

Intelligent Textiles has managed to integrate smart fabrics into military uniforms, helmets, backpacks and gloves.

Whether we will see futuristic military applications of smart fabrics that will automatically change the colors of soldiers uniform to provide location-related camouflage is debatable. Such an application would have to be totally reliable in extremely harsh combat environments. We would not want to see troops charging out of a bunker and inadvertently transforming into harlequin figures!

Back to those urban fashionistas. Researchers are also saying that future neckties will be intelligent and capable of charging a mobile phone. But would you wear a smart necktie because it can charge your mobile phone, even if it clashed with your thermally cozy Hawaiian shorts?

Please or Register to post comments.

What's London Calling?

Blogs on the electronics industry

Contributors

Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Penton Media's Electronics Division. From his base in London, England, he covers press conferences and industry events throughout the EU for Penton...
Commentaries and Blogs
Guest Blogs
Dec 15, 2014
blog

Who Are You? (I Really Want to Know!) 1

Borrowing a stanza from The Who’s hit song seemed like a good way to bring attention to a critical topic often ignored by engineers. When finding information on a company that has an interesting product, what do we do? Of course, we look at its Web page to learn more....More
Dec 15, 2014
blog

Bridging Technical Communication Barriers Between Cultures

Understanding technical concepts in different languages can sometimes prove to be difficult, particularly when you have to communicate it. In this article, I discuss the challenges and possible courses of action....More
Dec 1, 2014
blog

Programming Efficiency 7

When I started college, the Intel 4004 was being designed. The C programming language and UNIX operating system were being developed (unbeknownst to me). I did most of my programming in BASIC on an HP 2100 series mini-computer....More

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×