How Technology Could Affect the Clothes You Wear

Published: 10/12/2016

It’s 6:30 a.m. You admire the hues of purple and pink in the sky as you stretch in anticipation of your morning run. As you slowly begin to jog, you feel your heart rate increase. You take a deep breath of cool air and suddenly become lightheaded and your vision fades to black.

What if we wore clothing that tracked our heartbeat and blood pressure, made recommendations to improve our workout – even alerted paramedics when we were injured on a morning run? The rapidly advancing wearable technology market could be introducing this type of “smart” attire sooner than we think.

Imagine a shirt that instantly transmitted crucial information to paramedics when an elderly person lost their balance at home alone, or a hat that quickly located a child who wandered away at a busy shopping mall. Think of how much time and money would be saved if a doctor could release their patient earlier, because they were wearing clothing that could monitor their vitals as they recovered from surgery.

How would smart clothing differ from the wearable technology we have today? The accuracy of data transmitted through smart accessories is dependent upon the amount of contact your skin makes with built-in sensors. Existing wearable tech accessories, focused on the wrist, are excellent tools to track stationery activities like calorie consumption and sleeping patterns; however, they often experience degraded signal transmission with increased physical movement.

Smart clothing would aim to achieve more accurate data by weaving conductors into fabric to provide consistent contact with skin during even the most strenuous of activities. Beyond tracking activities and monitoring vitals, smart clothing would be tailored to a person’s daily routine and could give recommendations on how to modify our habits to maximize our health. Employers may even provide smart clothing or wearable technology accessories to track employee’s productivity and bring new meaning to workplace wellness initiatives.

Although smart clothes will likely blossom among the medical and athletic communities, several other industries are sure to follow: fashion, military, public service officials and even the average consumer. The applications are endless, but they all promote the same thing – improving health and safety by delivering a constant stream of crucial information to a smart phone or other electronic device.

Visit Micro-Coax, a Carlisle Interconnect Technologies company, in booth A416 at the upcoming IFAI Expo, to learn more about ARACON, a unique conductive fiber for smart clothing applications offering DuPont™ Kevlar® strength with the flexible feel of a textile.