Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of technology-enabled fashion that range from now-mainstream innovations like the Nike+ runners, to out-there concepts such as t-shirts for couples that let them send each other “hugs” from a distance.
We’ve pulled together a collection of tech apparel to get you thinking about how future fashion could literally keep us wired at all times. Some of these pieces are purely cool concepts (t-shirt in a can, anyone?), while others can literally save you if you’re having a heart attack. The possibilities of nanotechnology for fashion go far beyond the brief glimpse we’re giving you today, but we’re feeling inspired and excited about what the sartorial future has in store.
Spray on fabric
You’ve likely heard the expression “spray on jeans” to refer to ultra tight pants, but a company named Fabrican has invented the real thing, inventing woven-fabric that can literally be sprayed from a can.
“The technology has been developed for use in household, industrial, personal and healthcare, decorative and fashion applications using aerosol cans or spray-guns,” the company explains on their website.
Sure, we women may joke to a girlfriend, “you seriously saved my life last night, thanks so much for lending me your dress at the last second,” but now there is actually a fashion item that could literally save your life. A new e-bra engineered at the University of Arkansas is designed for patients with heart trouble. It has “a series of nanostructured textile sensors” and a built-in wireless system that transmits the status of the patient’s health both to the patient, and to his or her doctor via smart phone. For men, an e-vest is available offering the same functionality.
“The system can also provide all the readings of a conventional electrocardiograph, including the ability to display inverted T waves, which indicate an oncoming heart attack,” ecouterre explains. “Unlike traditional ECGs, however, the garment requires no bulky wires, sticky electrodes, or gels. The software also includes a global-positioning system that zeroes in on the wearer’s precise coordinates, allowing the system to send emergency messages via voice or text messaging in case of extreme or abnormal readings.”
Fashion that cleans the air
Here’s a concept that would not only make Judy Jetson pull out her credit card, but could also get the attention of some of today’s environmentalist fashionistas. Catalytic Clothing has come up with a special formula that can be sprayed onto any piece of clothing, which then gives it the ability to purify the surrounding air.
“Professor and designer Helen Storey and scientist Tony Ryan have collaborated to add a photocatalytic process to fabric,” The Grump Owl explains. “This process requires Titanium Oxide and UV Light. When these two interact, the combination aggressively breaks down volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and ammonia, turning them into carbon dioxide and water molecules.”
Imagine a piece of fashion that can adjust itself to keep you warm when you’re feeling chilly, and that can cool you down when your temperature rose too much. And now imagine that it also has a built-in GPS and mobile phone. That dresses, and other nanotech-enabled apparel, is what Bio-electromechanical Autonomous Nano Systems is working on in Japan.
The idea of wearable technology is becoming less restricted to sci-fi movies, as we embrace the idea of wearing our mobile phones (in our pockets or bags) and music players wherever we go. How would you feel about wearing nanotechnology fashion? Did one of these items in particular appeal to you?