Weaving technology into your clothes

February 08, 2016

Recently, we published a blog post in which some members of our management team shared their views on the future of flexible electronics. According to one of the predictions “wearable displays will spread beyond the wrist, inspiring new creative form factors and functions of wearable technology”. In this blog, we take a closer look at how flexible electronics is already being used in clothing and fashion.

The smart clothing market

Wearables have managed to turn traditionally geeky tech into chic items with the introduction of hi-tech clothing. Fashion designers and apparel experts are seeing major benefits of including the latest technology either in their manufacturing processes as well as actually integrating electronics into garments.

The market for hi-tech clothing is vast, and mainly still untapped. With smart garments predicted to grow from 100,000 units shipped in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016, according to Gartner, it is clear that the appetite for this type of wearable is huge.

The health conscious, tech-loving fashionista will undoubtedly embrace smart clothing. What’s more, it’s becoming a more competitive market where consumers can pick and choose their style of garment.

So how are companies integrating electronics into clothes

Wearables will be integrated into clothesA company called Ortiz Industry is taking a holistic approach – including new technology processes in manufacturing its clothes by replacing stitching with laser-cutting tech, and embedding printed electronics into the individual garment based on the user’s requirements.  

Google has of course thrown its hat into the ring with Project Jacquard – a programme which assumes that even the most vehement of technology-phobes will need to wear clothes, so is aiming to weave electronics into the fabric – the wearer can just sit back and enjoy the tech perks.

Integrating electronics and sensors into clothes and shoes has already played a major role in shaping health monitoring and fitness, and no doubt this trend will continue as the tech becomes more affordable to the mass market. We recently heard about a company called ShiftWear™ that was using flexible electronics for its wearable product purely for aesthetic appeal – a running shoe with integrated flexible displays, enabling the wearer to change the digital images just by using their smartphone.  

With flexible displays and flexible sensors opening up new creative possibilities for designers, and offering new benefits to end-users, we believe wearable technology is yet to evolve.  If you’ve become a wearable convert, let us know what it is and if it’s lived up to the hype – wearables@flexenable.com.

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