Developing smart clothing has been the goal of many manufacturers. Creating pieces that can provide the user with information related to their performance while walking or running is something that could considerably revolutionize this sector. So far the results obtained have not been entirely satisfactory or have been timid with respect to the initial premise.
However, a team of researchers from MIT CSAIL seem to have achieved what they call touch electronics, clothing that feels normal to the touch, but capable of detecting movement.
In this sense, the researchers took the initiative to create a special type of fiber and endowed it with a technology that had the ability to analyze the body of a person in motion, detecting the pressure exerted and transforming it into electrical signals.
These fabrics were manufactured on a machine by alternating smart fibers with normal fibers to obtain a soft and elastic fabric that could be molded in different ways.
Once the fabric was obtained, the researchers disposed of it and proceeded to make socks, vests, gloves and a robotic sleeve. One of the advantages of these smart fibers is their high sensitivity to pressure, which can be used to map different ranges of motion.
Thus, with the socks the researchers were able to verify the moment when a person assumed a squatting position, threw himself or walked under a ladder, while through the vest it was determined whether the person placed his hand on his chest or leaned on a piece of furniture.
In this way, smart tissue could be useful for people dedicated to the practice of physical activity in knowing if they are distributing their weight correctly when doing a specific exercise or improving their posture.
At the moment the research is in an experimental stage, so it is still early to think that clothing manufacturers will incorporate smart fibers into their production line. However, its very existence already represents more than an interesting advance in the goal of achieving advanced smart clothing.