I figured out that since we have stuff like smart cars, smart TVs and smartphones, why not make another everyday item ‘smart’ as well? I’m talking about wearable fabrics that will not only keep you nice and warm, shielding you from the elements, but has a semblance of intelligence as well. According to John Volakis, the director of the ElectroScience Laboratory at Ohio State University, he and his team are currently working on “smart textiles” which comprise of wearable fabrics that come embedded with electronics. These embedded electronics will be able to collect, store, send and receive information, and their application really, depends on your imagination. So far, some of the more practical areas where they can be used would be in military apparel, everyday T-shirts, or even hospital gowns.
For the latter, imagine an antenna hospital gown that is capable of transmitting data such as one’s heart rate to a health professional’s computer. This kind of wireless monitoring might not only be used in hospitals, but would also find a place in people’s homes so that one can keep tabs on the sick and elderly remotely. I guess it will take some time before wearable fabrics become the norm – at least this is a first step of a long journey.