Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 29, 2013

Wearable Electronics Comes Closer to the Consumer World

While researchers around the world are diligently working to bring wearable electronics to market, a U.K. university has moved a step closer to reality. Here, scientists have produced a prototype garment that integrates electronic devices into the fabric of the garment.

According to Digital Spy, researchers at Nottingham Trent University's Advanced Textiles Research Group have created a garment fitted with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The researchers are calling it smart and interactive textile.

Application targets for wearable technology include medical, military and consumer.

Based on analyst investigation, wearable technology could reportedly be a big growth area in consumer electronic goods over the next few years.  

Currently, as per the report, techniques involve electronic devices being inserted into clothing after it has already been produced, making the textile inflexible. In addition, the electronic devices must be removed before washing.

But unlike others, wrote Digital Spy reporter Andrew Laughlin, the Nottingham Trent researchers have developed a method to integrate semiconductor chips within the fibers of a yarn. Called Micro Electronic Textiles (MET), they feature sensors smaller than the size of a pinhead being integrated in the fiber.

Consequently, they produce a 'smart textile' that retains the fabric's basic characteristics of being tactile, flexible, machine washable and capable of being tumble-dried.

Nottingham Trent researchers believe the wearable technology can be used to monitor chemical reactions and vital signs in medical and sporting assessments. It can also be used for illuminating textiles in fashion by creating malleable mood fabrics that change color depending on the situation.

Prof. Tilak Dias, who leads the Advanced Textiles Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, said there are various applications for their technology. "The prototype uses LEDs but the technology can also result in variations of washable, wearable computers that can monitor vital signs for well-being, provide intelligent textiles for the military, have invisibility cloaking capabilities, and create flexible and conformable displays," noted Dias.

The wearable technology market has potential to grow significantly in the future. While Google has already unveiled Google Glass eyewear project, it is rumored that Sony, Apple (News - Alert) and Nokia are all working on similar products.

A market report from IMS Research shows that shipments of wearable technology products are likely to rise by more than 500 percent from 2011 to 2016, to 92.5 million units worldwide.




Edited by Braden Becker




Comments powered by Disqus


Dedicated to Wearable Tech: Mobile, Sports, Fitness, Audio, Fashion, Design


Featured Podcasts

The Business of Wearable Computing: An Interview with Brand Finance An interview with Edgar Baum, Managing Director North America with Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Mr. Baum specializes in marketing ROI and financially quantified brand strategy.
Getting Attention for Your Wearables Joe Daniels of Loeb & Loeb discusses how wearable tech entrepreneurs can gain exposure for their ideas and what to do once they've won attention from potential investors.
Wearable Success Rides on Actionable Intelligence Lux Capital's Adam Goulburn focuses on the traits sought by investors as they consider wearable startups, such as how well their software turns collected data into actionable intelligence.
Wearable Tech Startup Strategy CRV's George Zachary talks wearable startups and how they can secure the attention of the right investors as the seek to become the next great thing in wearables.
How to Win the Wearable Tech Funding Game Donatella Giacometti speaks with Canary Ventures' Alex Goldberg about what the investment community looks for in startups, such as the many new wearable tech companies that are emerging.

Wearable Tech World Media Sponsors