The Future of Smart Clothing
The Future of Smart Clothing
What will you be wearing in the future?
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Have you ever looked down at your clothing and thought "this outfit could really be enhanced with a bit of technology?" According to Gartner, the leading research and advisory company, the future of clothing is wearable technology, with sales rising dramatically since 2017.
While much of this growing market is driven by smartwatches, in the very near future, wearable technology will spread to various aspects of clothing. From glasses and headsets to solar jackets, the future of clothing is rooted in tech.
While Google Glass has already entered the market, it is expected that by 2023, around 10 percent of glasses, eyewear, and headsets will be connected to the Internet, turning our vision into a digital interface.
Intelligent glasses like this will provide users with direct access to Internet applications through their vision. While this will help provide instant information, browsing Wikipedia is not the only use for this tech.
This wearable tech will also allow improved capacity to perform tasks, potentially changing the face of learning and instruction thanks to instant access to information.
Another incredible innovation is the potential to use bacterial cellulose to ‘grow’ clothes, with some experts suggesting this innovation could happen as early as 2025.
The process of ‘bio-couture’ utilizes a harmless bacteria to produce, spin, and shape pure cellulose fibres into a usable material. While this concept is still in its infancy, being able to ‘grow’ clothes would offer a viable solution to resource shortage around the world.
The biological clothes would not only be more sustainable in terms of materials but, thanks to self-cleaning coatings, would not require washing either, saving water, cleaning chemicals, and providing cleaner energy.
As well as bio-couture, by 2025, we could also be wearing clothes that harvest energy from the sun, in order to power mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.
This smart clothing would utilize revolutionary solar cells that are specially designed for clothing. The cells, which are currently being developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo and the Japanese research institute RIKEN, are so thin that they could eventually be sewn into clothing.
At three millionth of a meter thick, the solar cells are incredibly pliable and are able to absorb light while keeping out water and air, thanks to a special coating. Research on these solar cells is still at an early stage, but the potential for this tech is huge.
Drones are being utilized in a variety of industries to a great effect, with wearable drones also being explored by tech company Frogdesign, who envision a future where our tech devices have become more loosely bound to us.
One such product is Flare, a wearable drone that clicks into a palm strap and navigates its user through cities by flying several meters ahead guiding them to their destination. Another concept is Breathe, which would launch from the user’s shoulder and float in front of their mouth, filtering pollution from the air.
Whatever the technology, smart clothing has a bright future.
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