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Who would have thought of clothing equipped with technology a few years ago? There are many who still think of their combination as an abstract match.
But today, with technology taking giant strides, we cannot deny that clothing and technology together have a bright future.
The match of clothing and technology is currently at an interesting stage. While some finished products aim at making day to day life simpler, some others can amuse us with their shock value. We look at some of the nascent beginnings in this field
Researchers at Georgia Tech are working towards creating a fabric that can generate power from walking, breathing and heartbeats. In scientific language, the aim is to convert mechanical energy into electricity and this will be achieved with the help of nanowires.
These nanowires are made from flexible fiber and are coated with zinc oxide. The friction between fibers will create electric current. Though the concept of such a fabric is unique, it might be too heavy on one’s pocket once it is fully made.
But it can certainly come in handy in professional fields that can make use of such a kind of technology.
The BLU jacket by Lunar Design brings the concept of out- of- box thinking to life. It is made out of organic e-paper and serves mainly three functions.
One, it can reflect one’s moods and emotions. This is made possible through semiconductors and the current mood is reflected in colors and signs.
Two, the jacket has an inbuilt GPS system.
Three, The BLU jacket also has the facility of displaying advertisements.
Mc10 in collaboration with Reebok creates fitness attire enabled with sensors and microchips.
These measure one’s health level including heart pulse, blood pressure and joint injuries.
Mc10 also plans other novel products such as leggings that can measure the distance of the run, shirts that can measure heart rate and fabrics that can tell the temperature of the body and its hydration level.
A unique way to keep heat at bay has been invented in Japan in the form of Kuchofuku clothing. The term ‘Kuchofuku’ literally translates into air-conditioned clothing.
It has built-in fans that keep the body temperature from rising high. Wearers of this clothing find it to be extremely comfortable and relieving on hot days.
MIT Media Lab along with Levis has brought out a ‘musical jacket’ that has a keyboard on it. The fabric of the jacket is silk organza and the keyboard has been embroidered with conductive thread.
Power to this keyboard can be provided from natural resources such as solar, wind or mechanical energy.
Jenny Tillotson, a British designer, recognized the power that the sense of smell has and with this in mind she created a garment that is called ‘smart second skin.’ This garment has ‘scent bubble’ that can be controlled.
The ‘scent bubble’ is made functional by a network of micro pumps and micro tubes. The utility of this garment lies in its regulatory functions. In other words, if a body is experiencing high stress levels then soothing and relaxing aromas would be released and if a person is feeling tired or sleepy then refreshing aromas would be released.