Most things that we’re in close contact with in our lives becoming intelligent. Moreover, textiles are in contact with our lives more than 90%, so why don’t they become intelligent too. Textiles and electronics are integrating as the foundation of a new functionality that called Electronic Textile, E-Textile, Smart Textile, or Wearable System. They are based on electrically-active woven e-fibers. New products integrating e-textiles are being created from clothing to bandages, bed linen to industrial fabrics. E-Textile markets expect the growth to accelerate rapidly over the next decade. However, it’s going to start slowly due to many challenges unless large companies start to invest heavily and releasing early products.
Smart textile started for the first time 1990s in for the use of military in United States and European countries. The development of smart clothing distinguished in four stages.
First Stage, 1980s to 1997, the idea of wearable computer has been initiated.
Second Stage, 1998 to 2001, fashion and textile sectors joined in product development.
Third Stage, 2002 to 2005, during this stage product marketability attracted more interests. Smart clothing focused on technical feasibility and user requirements.
Fourth Stage, 2006 to current, some high fashion brands jumped into smart clothing development.
What is E-Textile?
E-Textiles are electronics and interconnection woven into fabric. They incorporate conductive fiber or elements directly into the textiles itself. They feel like textile and eliminate wires and hard electronics.
How do E-Textile work?
There are many materials available from yarns to woven and coated fabrics that incorporate with the textile itself. Most e- textiles are passive circuits; they are resistive or conductive element. E-Textiles will be able to sense, emit light, show changing images, heat, cool, change chap. Also, they can be used through compute and wirelessly communicate. Or, assembling the surrounding energy to create electricity where needed.
What distinguishes this system is that it automatically recognizes the activity and behavioral stats of their user by its ability to characterize.
Where do E-Textiles used?
It can be used in many products; NuMetrex athletic garment that monitor heart rate, fabric key pads for controlling iPad, heating product that can create sensors, thermchromatic displays, and data transfer system, antenna and heating elements. Also, it can diagnose or treat medical conditions sometimes.
International Fashion Machines (IFM) by Maggie Orth. She combine exceptional contemporary design with the latest in electronic textile technology to create products that lights’ our rooms
Each pattern is machine embroidered on DesignTex wool felt and hand tufted with electronic yarns. When viewers touch the tufted, electronic textile sensor area of each pattern, the felt and embroidered yarns are illuminated from behind, revealing the light transmissive properties of the textile.
Some brand started to lunch some e-textile apparel such as Adidas, Reebock, and Nike. In particular Adidas inserts micro sensors into their jerseys to monitor athletic performance. These sensors don’t interfere with the athletes’ activity, but are able to measure heartbeat and respiration.
Moreover, there are some top designers who already start following this phase. Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz are the designers behind CuteCircuit.
CuteCircuit is a known fashion house in London. Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz pushed the boundaries of wearable technology since the lunched of CuteCircuit in 2004. Their most recent creation was the twitter dress that was worn by Nicole Scherzinger. It was a high end fashion design dress that receives Tweets in real time from Nicole’s fans using the #tweetthedress hashtag while she is on the red carpet during the live stream.
Another celebrity wore their design is Katy Perry in her stage shows and red carpet appearances.
All their creations were made in UK, Italy, or USA and manufactured with high quality and technologically advanced materials. Every garment is tested to comply with their gold stander. They use 100% RoHs in their garment. The textiles are Oeko Tex certified.
Another way of use technology in fashion is to use the 3D printer to create high fashion. The leader designer who used this high technique in her first show in Paris was Iris Van Herpen in collaboration with MGX, which is company that uses a variety of 3D printing methods to manufacture their product of Lamps and furniture and some fashion accessory. .MGX by Materialise collection combines the best of modern and traditional craftsmanship.
Stoppa, and Chiolerio, Wearable Electronics and Smart Textiles: A Critical Review, Sensors, 7 July 2014.
Suh, Minyoung, Kate Carroll, and Nancy Cassill. “Critical Review on Smart Clothing Product Development.” Journal of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management 6.4 (2010): 1-18. Print.