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Wearable Tech Can Make Our Clothes Smart

by Sai Vardhan

Wearable Tech Can Make Our Clothes Smart

March 30, 2021

Do you ever look at your wardrobe and wonder what it would be like if you could personalise your clothes before they were even made? What if your clothes told you it was time for them to be washed and how. Well yeah, things are about to take a turn with Internet Of Clothing. Smart clothes could be the next big thing in the fashion industry.

Clothing an essential part of human life is something we all know that keeps changing according to trend and helps a person get noticed, makes a person’s impression and what not..! With time, the clothing industry also changed and adapted new trends like design, innovative washing machines, seasonal design wear, digital marketplace etc.

The clothing we wear today is primarily designed, manufactured and sold from different parts of the globe, and the process of knitting, crocheting, sewing takes a painfully long time.

Healthcare-wearablesfitness-focused-most-smart-clothing-scoolbuzz
Most wearables are fitness-focused, most smart clothing so far has followed in those footsteps with incredibly accurate fitness metrics and detailed analysis of workouts.

The Tech Revolution

Is there a way to customise, get altered fit and trendy design clothes which we could get at affordable prices? Thanks to advancements in manufacturing and technology, we won’t have to imagine forever, and the dream of customisation where individuals can design and purchase their own clothing at the same price point as mass-produced items is quickly becoming a reality.
According to McKinsey & Company’s report titled Industry 4.0: Reimagining manufacturing operations after COVID-19 report, the four primary technology advancements: increased connectivity, analytics and machine learning/artificial intelligence, human-machine interaction and advanced engineering will enable the next industrial revolution.

The Internet of Clothing

Today, we refer to labels on our clothes to find out where that particular piece of clothing was manufactured, what it’s made of, and how to care for it. But a shift toward electronic RFID tags, 3d printing technology and artificial intelligence could enable our clothes to give washing instructions directly to the washing machines. That information could help washing machines in optimizing water temperature, wash cycles, and improve the longevity of our clothing and even prevent colors from fading.
It might sound futuristic but Haier, a global appliance manufacturer, has already begun developing a chain of smart clothing called “Internet of Clothing.” They have created a digital platform to exchange data that is stored on the RFID chips and find what they can do with that.

wearable-prototypes-products-for-workout-scoolbuzz
Full of fitness-obsessed products for workout-loving people with thick wrists and deep pockets

A Misunderstood Opportunity

The world’s leading technology company, Google is at the forefront of smart-textile technology, with its long-awaited smart clothing platform, Jacquard. The platform is based on a project that was launched over a decade ago, to create smart fabrics. 

Google Jacquard is essentially a smart tag that you can slip into your clothes, to open up a number of “abilities” to interact with the internet.  A few years ago, Google partnered with Levi’s to launch the first generation of Jacquard-enabled jackets. Using the jacket, one could answer phone calls without reaching out for the phone. It also had a warning system that alerted you if you left your phone behind. 

Unfortunately, the jacket came at a price of $350 and came only in one colour. People found it too expensive. Many failed to realize that this proof of concept could have been used to harness the power of open-source and smash open the floodgates for third-party operators to provide a million different creative solutions. 

The Future Isn't Grim

At present we can only imagine what and how these technologies are going to be used. But one thing we know for sure is that the clothing industry is undergoing a huge revolution technology-wise. Even the small scale manufacturing industries and many start-ups are innovating to develop cutting edge technology that can be accessible to the consumers and even change the face of the fashion industry. 

Some of the Possible Applications of Smart Clothes

  • Track your misplaced jacket at a party.
  • Feeling too hot? Your smart cap will track your perspiration and remind you to drink water.
  • Stepping out in cold? Set the temperature of your jacket to 27 Degrees Celsisus.
  • Out at the pool during summers? Your swimsuit will tell you it’s time to get out of the sun or apply more sunscreen. If you entered your skin type in the smartphone app, it will monitor the UV levels you are exposed to during the day.
  • Smart shirts might also help us track metrics including fatigue level, calories burnt and sleep quality.
  • Smart socks that detect stride and provide data on heel strike, pronation and tell you when it’s time to replace your shoes. They might also come equipped with special sensors which can tell you when it’s time to drop them in the laundry.
  • Trackable children’s t-shirts fitted with GPS sensors and trackable through an app could help parents overcome the fear of losing them in crowded places.

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