The future of fashion: a purse that plays videos, 3-D printed dresses and more
By Bandana Tewari, 29th June 2016
One of the most exciting developments in the field of wearable technology is Google’s Project Jacquard, a groundbreaking initiative that addresses the complex and ever-changing dance between wearables and interactivity. The project’s first partner, Levi’s, is working with the fashion-forward ideas of touch-interactive clothing. The project allows designers and developers to build connected, touch-sensitive textiles into their own products.
On a macro level, American textiles are pushing the industry to the new frontier of the digital age. With MIT playing the leader, the collaborations between them, the US Defense Department and 50 companies (textile manufacturers, chip makers, materials makers and medical companies, among others) are investing in the future of apparel and fashion. They aim to make our fabrics hear, see, store energy and become your ‘medical mom’, cooling you down when it’s hot, warming you when it gets cold.
Smart fabrics are about seamlessly weaving conductive yarns in to textiles, making it possible to convert everyday fabric into interactive surfaces. “The structure of textiles is essentially the structure of touch screens, which we use in everyday mobiles and tablets,” says Ivan Poupyrev, Project Jacquard founder. “Which means, if you replace some of the threads in textiles with conductive threads, you should be able to weave a textile that can recognise a variety of simple touch gestures—just like any normal touchpad, like the one on your mobile phone. So if you can hide or weave interactivity and input devices into the materials, that will be the first step towards integrating computing into material and clothing.”
Captured touch and gesture data is wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps or phone features. LEDs, haptics and other embedded outputs provide feedback to the user. Here’s to opening the door to the future and a hap-hap-hap-tic world.
The British brand EMEL+ARIS founded in 2015 created a ‘smart coat’ with intelligent heating technology. Inert polymers produce far infrared energy (FIR) that is absorbed by the skin to heat the muscles and increase blood flow. FIR has been tested and is proven to be 100 per cent safe. It conducts heat uniformly with no hot spots, and does not use wires, so it cannot short-circuit or overheat. Powered by a bespoke, compact battery, it also has a USB port to charge your phone as well as heat your coat on the move.