Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fashion Innovation: Wearable Technology

I liked the wearable technology that the Black Eyed Peas incorporated into their recent Super Bowl half-time performance. Wearable technology is an industry that's existed since the 1980's however due to technological advancements today-it is an industry that is on the cusp of emerging into products that can be distributed globally to the average consumer. Beyond personal usage; sports, medical and armed forces are particularly interested in the possibilities of wearable technology within their industries.

Here is a quick break down of categories that wearable technology is being designed for:

Entertainment & communications systems. The integration of products like Bluetooth, wireless, Ipod and more. For example, the controls for such devices are located on the sleeve of your coat or jacket.

Garment heating systems. These products are especially helpful in cold weather as gloves, boots, scarves and so forth monitor heat and adjust as needed to keep wearer's comfortable.

Solar & other mobile power systems. For instance, clothes that have the capability to absorb solar power so you can re-charge your mobile devices while you're out during the day.

Lighting solutions. Beyond the obvious use by celebrities in performances and appearances (Katy Perry, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, U2, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, etc.) your average bikers and runners benefit from this type of clothing as drivers can spot them easier in the dark.

Textile interconnection. E-textiles or electronic textiles in which the fabric enables computing and digital components to be embedded in them. This is often referenced as smart clothing. One example, is the "Smarty Pants" that has motion sensors embedded in the cloth that tracks velocity, rotation and flexibility of the fabric and send sends the data to a wireless compute for analysis. This product is being considered for use in the medical field to evaluate patient's movements.

Just imagine one day in the near early morning jogger sets out: wearing a pair of smart pants to track the data of his movements; staying warm with a ClimaWare neck wrap, shoes and jacket; listening to his/her Ipod adjusting the volume and tracks through controls on the jacket sleeves; all while shining brightly with LED battery powered lights that are placed throughout their running attire. That future is just around the corner!

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