|Cool Pics - Smart Fabric & Electronic Apparel|
If 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.
Actual military 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 Nazis!
"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."
See 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."