you follow news stories on science and innovation, the topic of "smart
fabric" (aka smart textiles, smart clothing) shows up fairly often.
Evidently the technology is fairly slow to be integrated into commercial
products because most of what you will find during a search is either
for women's novelty clothing or for military applications. That tells
me the price must still be too great for a Wal-Mart version to be produced.
There are notable exceptions like this method of printing shapes
on fabric that are only visible to digital cameras because of the sensor's
ability to capture colors beyond the range of human vision - clever.
I am surprised to never have seen this show up in the news where someone
used the tech to get a T-shirt with a banned message past event screeners
(political, advocacy, etc.).
If you are into sunbathing, a solar
cell bikini is available that will keep your iPod running all day while
you lie on the beach destroying you skin cells.
gear that has been deployed is nearly impossible to find, which means
that it is not just price as an object, but also possibly ruggedness
and performance. They could tell you, but then they'd have to kill you
Plug and Wear company makes a fabric breadboard that allows
you to build breadboards on a wearable fabric. I thought it was a joke
at first, but you can actually use it as perf board to do point-to-point
wiring using a soldering iron. A word of advice for experimenters: if
you make anything for your kids, be sure to use all lead-free components
and solder or be prepared to face the wrath of the EPA and Child Services
"Kameraflage Inc. has developed patent-pending display technology
that exploits a digital image sensor's natural ability to see
more colors than the human eye. By rendering content both in
the visible and invisible spectrum, Kameraflage displays enable
an Augmented Reality experience accessible to anyone with a
standard digital camera or camera-phone, without the need for
an internet connection or installing an app."
"A solar film bikini that charges your iPod! (with a USB connection!)
The suit is a standard medium-sized bikini swimsuit retrofitted
with 1" x 4" photovoltaic film strips sewn together in series
with conductive thread. The cells terminate in a 5 volt regulator
into a female [appropriately] USB connection."
video for more detail (1:01 point)
"Solderable soft perfboard. On this perfboard you can sew or
even solder components! You can solder SMD or standard components.
It can be easily cut with scissors and sewn with a standard
sewing machine. Washable. "
Plug and Wear
I thought this was a joke
when I first saw it!
"LumiGram's concept is based on the association of light
and technology for style, using the latest luminous technologies
for creating and offering stunning fashion, clothing, decoration
and luxury articles."
The GalaxyDress provides a spectacular and mesmerizing effect
being embroidered with 24000 full color LEDs, it is the largest
wearable display in the world. The circuits are extra-thin,
flexible, and hand embroidered on a layer of silk in a way that
gives it stretch, so the LED fabric can move like normal fabric
with lightness and fluidity. It is designed to work with iPods.
"At the Fine Group we [are] working with suppliers that are
at the forefront of cutting edge technology to ensure that we
are always ‘one step ahead of the game’. One such company, with
whom we are developing a close working relationship, is Intelligent
Textiles. ... A typical example is their fabric keyboard that
is, quite literally, the size of a handkerchief and this can
be connected to a PDA, PC or cell phone."