Technology has gone beyond the use of wearable smart gadgets like watches and fitness bracelets; we now have tech added to fabrics that we can wear. One of the many benefits technology is that it can give us information about our lives from how we sleep to every single movement we make. However, what we put on our bodies tells the world so much more about ourselves. Clothes can define what we want to be and the people around us that shape our lives. What we wear should not just be about combining fashion with technology, the technology added to it should be to enhance our fashion choices.
However, this article is about using smart and connected fabric to create a safer products environment. In this case, we look beyond fashion and how we can benefit from these smart gadgets for our safety.
Who makes these fabrics?
Companies today are looking into ways to utilize artificial intelligence and the internet of things to promote the safety of their workers. One way they can successfully achieve this is to incorporate the use of smart and connected fabric in the workplace. With this kind of technology, the employee’s who are exposed to a high-risk environment is quickly notified with this internet of things monitoring devices when there is a threat to their safety.
For instance, Mitsufuji’s Hamon device that is in a wearable product. It uses AGposs silver fiber to gather biometric, Gyro, PPS, ECG and accelerometer data to help monitor physical and environmental conditions.
Also, Atos have introduced their Wearlumb which is a smart t-shirt created to reduce the risks and cost of treating lower back problems. The t-shirt makes use of a network of motion sensors that is able to detect and measure your posture, transfer information through Bluetooth to immediately conduct a real-time analysis on your tablet.
Aside from these two companies, there are also other companies developing connected fabrics and introducing prototypes to the market. Most of them are found in the sports and fitness industry. They are one of the first to grab the opportunity and explore the many possibilities of using smart fabrics. These companies include brands such as Athos, Limo, Sensoria, and Hexoskin. They have been successfully able to design smart and connected clothes that can feature characteristics like extensive perception, accurate transmission, and intelligent processing.
Are there any risks associated with connected fabrics?
Smart fabrics are becoming very common in the market, but the truth is there could be some risks attached to wearing these clothes which you normally won’t find in the regular clothes we wear. For instance, how much data is being collected by the garment? Innovators may need to consider what type of data is being gathered, for example, if it is a jacket, will it just take temperature readings or if leggings monitor muscle movements. Just like wearable gadgets, smart fabric innovators will need to consider how the data is received, used and stored.
Also, the electronic components may give rise to matters of safety. Smart and connected gadgets need to comply with safety requirements before they are sold in the market.
Smart Fabrics: A Safe Solution
The reason most companies are buying into the use of smart and connected fabrics for their employees is because of safety. For instance, in the construction industry, workers are exposed to harsh chemicals, heavy machinery, loud noise environment, bad weather and working long hours. When looking at the biometric data and the external factors, managers may have to consider safer options for the subcontractors. They would need a smart fabric that can detect troubling spots, monitor a safer environment, give instant alerts and notification when a problem arises on site.
Also, professional sports teams can benefit from using connected fabrics to help them improve on their training plans, detect injuries immediately and also ensure their good health as well as fitness. Smart fabrics also have a role to play in the medical field. Doctors and nurses can monitor the well-being of their patients. There are smart fabrics that detect the heart rate of people. Also, they can help caregivers by monitoring newborn babies when they sleep.
There are so many benefits of utilizing smart and connected fabrics. They don’t only help in gathering data but also ensure a safer environment for people in every area of life. The data collected will serve a long way in giving a higher human understanding of health matters.