It seems like everyone these days either has a pedometer or activity tracker: little hands-free devices following their every step, mile, and heart beat. However, this technology can only take you so far...
The limitations of the former have paved the way for smart clothing and e-textiles. Smart computers, or sensors, have been embedded into bits of garments and are able to connect to mobile devices. This technology is one of the most recent and exciting innovations within the Internet of Things (IoT) realm.
The fitness world has seen great potential with smart clothing. As of right now, there are shirts, jogging pants, bras, socks, and caps monitoring your health. Those focused on weight training can follow the progress of every muscle group in real time, Yogis are able see their stress and anxiety levels decline with each pose, and runners can track their pace, distance and landing pressure.
Smart fabrics are not just for those wanting to improve their health. These sensors can monitor your child, check your vitals, and even save a life.
Back in April, The United States Defense Department announced that it would contribute $75 million for smart clothing and textile technology research. Through Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers plan to develop stronger ways of protecting the military in battle.Though we still have a long way to go, there have already been many improvements in securing a soldier’s safety.
A soldier’s uniform is meant to keep them safe from attackers. Whether it’s their vest, helmet, backpack, or gloves, they will be protected. With smart fabrics, each article of clothing can be embedded with sensors. The vest could prevent an external attack by signaling the soldier if a sniper’s laser, infrared or not, is on them. If a soldier is wounded, their helmet could notify the base of their exact location for a quick recovery.
Internal attacks would be harder to detect. However, the fibers within the uniform are intelligent enough to foresee any nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks within the blood or sweat. The uniform could also inform the medic how deep the bullet or shrapnel is and if it is affecting surrounding organs.
The advancement with smart clothing is changing the way we view our bodies and how we can protect it. Hospitals can also take advantage of the revolutionary technology.
The smart technology will help monitor your vitals - body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. By putting on the shirt, especially one with electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors, a doctor can pull up the data sent to a specific dApp. This method can save the patient and the doctor time as well as money.
Doctors or technicians would not have to lug around big computers to detect heart rhythms or scan certain organs. With just a few short breaths, the doctor will have a clearer view on a patient’s health with smart technology.
Though the project does not exist anymore, one company was working on smart clothing to detect early signs of cancer. But this technology shows how close we are to changing our health and how we diagnose. Soon doctors will be able to detect any abnormalities in a person’s body.
Smart clothing could go beyond adult use. This technology could benefit new parents by teaching them about their child’s health. Instead of just using a monitor, parents could easily track their child’s vitals. Parents could choose either a onesie or a smart sock to track their baby’s breathing, joints, and sleep status. Parents who have a sick child can monitor the baby’s temperature and sleeping position.
This data will either be sent to a dApp or directly to a phone with a text message. Users will constantly get real time updates.