Based on the advances in computer technology, especially in the field of miniaturization, wireless technology and worldwide networking, the vision of wearable computers emerged. We already use a lot of portable electronic devices like cell phones, notebooks and organizers.
Description of Smart Fabrics
The next step in mobile computing could be to create truly wearable computers that are integrated into our daily clothing and always serve as our personal assistant. This paper explores this from a textile point of view. Which new functions could textiles have? Is a combination of textiles and electronics possible? What sort of intelligent clothing can be realized? Necessary steps of textile research and examples of current developments are presented as well as future challenges.
Today, the interaction of human individuals with electronic devices demands specific user skills. In future, improved user interfaces can largely alleviate this problem and push the exploitation of microelectronics considerably. In this context the concept of smart clothes promises greater user-friendliness, user empowerment, and more efficient services support. Wearable electronics responds to the acting individual in a more or less invisible way.
It serves individual needs and thus makes life much easier. We believe that today, the cost level of important microelectronic functions is sufficiently low and enabling key technologies are mature enough to exploit this vision to the benefit of society. In the following, we present various technology components to enable the integration of electronics into textiles.