With summer quickly approaching, it’s the time of the year in which people like to switch out their wardrobes for the new season. But how about adding something high-tech to the summer looks? Let’s check out some of the ways in which technology is changing the clothes people wear.
Whatever the weather
A Chinese research team has developed 3D printing techniques that can yield a fabric with the ability to regulate temperatures. The technology they used is phase change materials – materials that change properties depending on the environment.
The team trapped a polymer inside a fabric that can alternate between a crystal and a non-crystal form. While it can absorb heat in its crystal form, it can release heat in its non-crystal form, therefore regulating the wearer’s temperature.
Zhang Yongyi, a part of the team who studies nanotechnology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Suzhou, said it is the first time “a scalable and controllable 3D printing strategy” has been used to create such clothing.
Powered by movement
Scientists in South Korea have developed a wearable fabric that generates electricity as it bends and stretches. Wearers only need to move naturally to power small electronic devices.
The clothing incorporates a variety of nanogenerators that can use friction to create energy, which can then be effectively stored. Although the clothes contain a small number of electrical components, the clothing feels completely normal.
Sang-Woo Kim, who works at the Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea, is proud of his team’s work in developing the clothing. “It feels like an ordinary jacket,” he told Science News for Students after wearing the clothing developed.
In another amazing research, clothes could serve as devices themselves. A team of engineering students from the University of Washington, US, have led these efforts by stitching conductive thread into cotton t-shirts. The clothing can then send signals that can be received by cellphones.