The concept of smart clothing is nothing new. Companies like Google have explored the concept with the Jacquard project. However, the implementation seems pretty basic, like performing gestures to interact with your phone, which, while neat, feels a bit new. However, what if smart clothing could be used for more advanced purposes, like collecting biometric data?
That being said, perhaps this could be an issue that can be addressed if the technology can be more tightly integrated into clothing. What’s this Rice University researchers have made, where they created conductive fibers using carbon nanotubes which are then sewn into the garment itself.
Since the nanotubes themselves are so small, the researchers had to bundle several of them together so that it was roughly the same size as a regular thread, which then allowed them to use it with a sewing machine. When integrated with a sports shirt, it allowed the shirt to collect data about the wearer, such as their heart rate, which means that in the future our clothes may be able to collect data. biometric without the need for chest belts or even smartwatches.
The researchers found that based on their initial tests, the use of nanotubes allowed it to collect better data compared to a typical chest belt heart monitor, and was also comparable to electrode monitors. It may be some time before this technology becomes commercially available, but so far it holds great promise.