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Innovative smart clothing changing more than just athletics

By Regina Henkel

Apr 15, 2019

Electronics infiltrate our clothing and create completely new application scenarios. Whether when doing sports, at work or in everyday life - there are plenty of ideas for new uses for smart clothing.

A ski jacket with functional control

Swiss premium ski clothing brand Kjus presented the world's first garment with an electro-osmotic membrane that can be controlled by the user. The new textile technology called Hydro_Bot uses electro-osmosis to actively transport perspiration away from the inner garment and out of the jacket. This keeps the body dry and warm because no moisture is trapped, which cools down slowly with less activity and usually cools down the body. Skiers therefore need to use less energy for thermoregulation.

The technology is controlled by two panels that are positioned at the back in sweat prone zones using Hydro_Bot, the core of which is a membrane consisting of billions of pores per square metre surrounded by conductive tissue. A small electrical impulse transforms the pores into micropumps that actively conduct moisture away from the body and out of the jacket. The function can be switched on and off via an integrated control unit or via the iPhone & Android app.

Denim jacket helps with forgetfulness

Together with internet giant Google, Levi’s has developed a jacket that helps with absent-mindedness: It makes sure that you don't leave your mobile anywhere. The idea was born a year ago, when Google updated Levi's “Commuter Denim Jacket” to allow access to Google’s services "Illuminate" and "Find Your Phone". Now the company has expanded the idea: Instead of offering just the manual search function for the smartphone, the denim jacket now also offers an "Always Together" mode, which triggers an automatic alarm as soon as jacket and phone move too far apart. There are two ways to sound the alarm: The wearable on the sleeve hem of the jacket lights up and vibrates, and the corresponding Jacquard app sends a push message to the smartphone. Even before the new update was released, wearers could control the music playback of their smartphone by pressing the button on the cuffs or use Google Maps to navigate to their destination.

Shirt prevents accidents

NTT Data, provider of business and IT solutions, offers the smart t-shirt ‘hitoe’. It was developed by the Japanese NTT Group and Toray, Japanese specialist for material technology and functional fabrics. Equipped with a sensor and made of a special conductive yarn, the shirt measures bioelectrical signals such as heart rate, pulse and the muscle contractions of the wearer. Based on the data, conclusions can be drawn about the person's physical or mental condition and, for example, their pulse rate, stress level, fatigue and posture determined. Energy consumption, physical stress or heat stress can also be measured. Monitoring also makes it possible to detect trips and falls.

The data is immediately available via smartphone. For more in-depth analyses, hitoe can also be connected to a service platform. Bus drivers and ground personnel at airports in Japan are said to be already wearing the shirt, which should help avoid accidents.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited DE; translated and edited by Simone Preuss

Photos: Kjus, Levi’s, hitoe-toray.com