In an era where everything must connect to the internet, smart clothes show that not even what we wear should escape technological developments
In recent years, the word smart (smart, in free translation) has been used to indicate products that are part of the recent wave of technologies where everything is connected to the internet – and not even the clothes were left out.
At smart clothes, or smart clothes, they are still on a threshold between bringing us a really useful and specific technology for each type of clothing (such as a set of swimwear and more with sensors that indicate when it is necessary to re-apply sunscreen and that send notifications to the parents' smartphones when the children get they get too close to the sea) and only more of the same, but in another format (like clothes that connect to the smartphone and can measure heart rate and body temperature, basically offering the same options as any fitness bracelet). Even so, many companies and research labs are betting on the development of smart clothing will really be the future of fashion, and some of these new designs have the potential to easily please even an audience that is normally not so concerned with the latest technological news.
Smart clothes: echoose your color
One of these projects is being developed by University of Central Florida (USA), which created a type of fabric that can change color whenever the user wishes. This fabric uses a mixture of standard knit yarns and end-of-life electrical wires, and these wires would conduct an electric current through the fabric. This current would be too low for any risk of shock to occur in the person wearing the clothing, but it would be enough to trigger some pigments that would change the color of the clothing. This command to change the color would be sent directly by the user's cell phone, through a specific app that would allow the person to choose exactly what color he wants to use at that moment.
As this technology does not depend on sensors or anything like that, being already embedded in the mesh itself, practically any piece of clothing or accessory could be made using this type of fabric, allowing the making of T-shirts, shorts, goodies, bags and practically any Another piece of clothing is able to change color instantly from a simple command on the cell phone.
As yet there is no prediction of when this technology will be available to the public, but the scientists who developed it have already closed a partnership with WETESO, and believe that in about two years the first products made with this fabric can be found in stores.
Smart clothing: apersonal r-conditioning
In very hot regions, there are days when we need to leave the house and all we really wanted was a way to take the air conditioning from our houses, cars and offices to the street as well. This is precisely what some scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT – USA) are developing.
Using a process of bioprint (similar to 3D printing, but that allows live microorganisms to be inserted into synthetic materials) to introduce bacteria into tissues Bacillus subtilis. This bacteria, used in fermentation processes in Japanese and South Korean cuisine, emits particles that react to heat and humidity, and that are used by scientists to control a tissue breathing system. If the body is very hot, several vents are opened in the fabric, which help to refresh the skin and release heat to the environment.
The great advantage is that, as it is an all biocontrolled process, there is no need to use batteries for the fabric to function. But, unfortunately, there is still no projection of when the first pieces using this fabric should arrive in stores.
Smart clothes: cyberpunk 2020
With the advancement of technology, one of the biggest concerns of many people is to live in a state of complete vigilance, in which cameras scattered on the streets and establishments can record the daily routine of each person every day, ending the concept of privacy.
That is why the artist and scientist Adam Harvey has developed a line of clothing used to disrupt surveillance devices. These clothes consist of hoods, parks and hijabs created with a highly flexible silver mesh and that reflect reflect the heat of the body, thus preventing drones with thermal cameras (normally used in bombing) from being able to identify any sign of the temperature that I can indicate the existence of a person in the place.
Another creation in this sense is that of KOVR, which created an anti-surveillance overcoat that deactivates all wireless communication signals (such as wi-fi internet signals), thus allowing that, if the person passes through a surveillance camera, he is unable to send the captured image to the base. In addition, several companies are also developing accessories such as umbrellas, bags and hats that emit a flash of intense light that confuses video cameras and hinders the taking of photographs.
Smart clothes: bwould stick to my toes
Although smart clothes and accessories are becoming more and more common, one of the biggest impediments to the constant use of these products is the need to be constantly plugging them in, since their battery time is often not enough for one day whole range of activities. But, what if people literally carried a battery all the time?
That was the solution imagined by SolePower, which created a draft that works like a portable battery that can transform each pass into electrical energy and store that energy to recharge other electronic devices. Although these boots are not yet on store shelves, the product is already functional, and the Pittsburgh company already has a contract with the United States Department of Defense to use this technology to help soldiers in the field and look for industrial partners. who want to test these boots in heavy work environments, such as civil construction.
But this is not the only experiment that aims to transform the clothes we wear into energy sources: scientists at North Carolina State University (USA) are developing a way to transform the heat emitted by the body into electrical energy that can be used to power computers. Meanwhile, researchers from the Nanoscience Research Group at the University of Georgia Tech (USA) are developing a solar-mechanical fabric, capable of not only absorbing solar energy and transforming it into electrical energy, but also doing the same with body movements. It is human and even wind, being a great alternative for workers who spend a lot of time outdoors and have nowhere to connect their electronic equipment in case their battery is running low.
Whether for cosmetic, technical use or to ensure greater privacy, the reality is that smart clothes it is much more than just a scientific curiosity, and it will possibly change all of our notions than fashion for years to come. And, who knows, soon we will have Paris Fashion Week entering the calendar of must-see technology events.
Source: Experience Magazine, SolePower, MIT Media Lab