Wearable technology is the new buzz word for the fashion industry this year, and the demand is for clothing or accessories that are not only fashionable but also intelligent. Products like Apple’s smart watch to the latest augmented reality smart glasses, to NASA’s space pants.
Many of the most innovative products and ideas are coming from small businesses and start-ups, and some of which are British companies leading the way. These companies are creating user-friendly fully functional devices, which are not only beautifully designed, but some are even expected to save lives.
Companies like Intelligent Textiles based in Staines, is run by a two person team, Asha Peta Thompson, with a background in Arts and Dr Stan Swallow an electronics expert, who last year redesigned the squaddie’s uniform and made it smarter. Their challenge was to solve the problem many soldiers face at the moment which is to carry 60 AA batteries on their person, in order to power all the equipment they carry. Thomson and Swallow created a light weight garment, with built in power and data distribution system containing a single battery pack, eliminating trailing wires and the need to spend 40 minutes at the end of each day checking whether the AA cells needed replacing.
Today the future of textiles is being investigated further, with a focus on how fashion performs in space; this innovative project is being led by the European Space Agency, “Couture in Orbit”. The vision is that clothing with integrated space technologies will soon be part of our everyday life.
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