Clothing is one of the three basic human needs. Smart Textiles are defined as textile products such as fibers and filaments, yarn together with woven, knitted or non-woven structures, which can interact with the environment/user in some way or the other.
Textile science today stands on a novel, unexplored and a fantasy filled horizon.
Smart textiles can sense and analyse the signals hence response in an intelligent manner where the response can be electrical, thermal, mechanical, chemical, and magnetic or from any other source. In smart textiles basically five functions can be distinguished, they are sensors, data processing, actuators, storage and communication. But it must be compatible with the function of clothing such as comfort, durability, resistant to regular textile maintenance processes and so on. Now it is not seen only in the Hollywood movies, it is not limited in our fantasy; it comes in our practical life with tremendous possibility, you can make your cloths glow using LED’s and all this can be done even if you are not an engineer.
Fashion Industry is growing and emerging very rapidly in our country. Many people are coming up with the question of whether E-textiles are the future of fashion. In spite of its overwhelming presence in newspapers, magazines and on television, the fashion industry in India is young. What makes smart fabrics revolutionary is that they have the ability to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communicate, transform and conduct energy or even glow.
From AT&T’s bio-tracking clothing to Lady Gaga’s smart-hydraulic “Living Dress,” e-textiles infuse fashion with electronics to produce unique and aesthetic effects using new conductive materials, including thread, yarn, paint, and fabrics woven from copper, silver, or other highly conductive fibers. E-textile projects can range from computationally enhanced articles of clothing to home furnishings to architecture, underscoring through tacit or explicit means how computing can be soft, colorful, approachable, and beautiful.
Examples below help to situate e-textiles for those unfamiliar with this emerging domain.
Today, the market for consumer-ready e-textile design toolkits is wide and ever-expanding. These Kits allowed people to build interactive fashion instead of robots. The kit’s custom electronics are recognizable by their colourful and round designs as well as the large suable petals. The electronic pieces can then be stitched together with conductive thread to create soft, interactive devices, such as electronically enhanced t-shirts, electronic cuffs, and solar-powered backpacks etc…
While new e-textile construction kits offer an exciting new range of tools and materials, novice educators and students need a set of compelling sample projects and workshop models, and clear ties to the existing education system. Opportunities to learn with e-textiles can extend to students considered too young to design with thread and electronic components. Moreover, classrooms, clubs, and after school settings should consider how altering materials and tools may situate STEM practices in cultural contexts that broaden participation patterns and offer youth multiple entry points and opportunities to perform identities that are socially valued across communities of practice and their gendered histories.