Research engineers at Purdue University have developed two novel treatments for clothing that will probably accelerate the development of wearable technology. "The reason why…smart clothing [hasn't taken off] yet is that the fabrication of this smart clothing is quite challenging," the researchers write, "as clothes need to be periodically washed and electronics despise water."
Their solution was to first sew a silk-based flexible coil into conventional clothing items, then spray the clothing with a hydrophobic coating. Armed with these two technologies, they're able to pull off some impressive tricks with ordinary T-shirts and gloves:
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"I envision smart clothes will be able to transmit information about the posture and motion of the wearer to mobile apps, allowing machines to understand human intent without the need of other interfaces, expanding the way we communicate, interact with devices, and play video games," says engineering assistant professor Ramses Martinez. "This technology can be fabricated in conventional, large-scale sewing facilities, which are expected to accelerate the development and commercialization of future smart clothes."