Some of the technology that is integrated in these fabrics is electronic elements such as microchips, sensors and actuators; biotechnology that allows living organisms to change the effect and use of fabric. …
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These fabrics are created in such a way that they can control heating and cooling. These fabrics can be used in medicine, sports, military uniforms among others. The technology in these fabrics is such that it can react to sounds, actions and movement. These textiles have been applied in healthcare, communication, music and in recent research it could be used in military. Smart fabrics are a promise of revolution for lifestyle, commerce and physical conditions of individuals (Nugent, 2006). While smart clothes offer a wide range of advantages if incorporated in the textile industry, it faces two major setbacks: unpredictability and unobtrusiveness.
After years of research, finally a wearable clothing electronic system is coming up (Surhone,2010). This will provide a stable setting for commercial applications. Currently, the available solutions are mostly focused on the fitness sector and also heartbeat rate supervision through clothing electrodes. There is research working on developing a fabric or belt that will help monitor a baby’s heart rate before they are born. This will fit more in a lifestyle aspect of smart fabric application than in a medical one since monitoring the heartbeat may not be a medical requirement. In turn, it could lead to a fabric or belt that helps monitor difficult pregnancies (Plunkett, 2008). Truth is, fabrics envelop every aspect of our lives be it security, fashion, trends, sports, or health and hence, it should be convenient and accessible at all times. There is touch sensitive fabric that has been created (Lymberis, 2004). It has all qualities of ordinary fabrics, but the inclusion of touch sensors makes it more versatile, innovative and desirable. These effects transform the fabric from a simple product to a high-tech interaction device which can be applied in many sectors in life (Surhone,2010). D3O, a non-Newtonian fluid, has been incorporated in some smart fabrics over time. Smart fabrics with this fluid embedded in them help protect the individual wearing it during impacts such as collisions, car accident and falls. This is because the fluid has properties that make it safe and reliable during impact. It moves slowly, but on shock, it locks itself together and absorbs shock to disband energy. This aspect of the fluid has seen it sawn on seams and linings of sporting gears that are dangerous and are prone to falls such as skiing (Plunkett, 2008). The energy produced during the fall is spread throughout the polymer, and through the chemical process, the energy is distributed throughout the matrix of the gears and thus reduces the expected impact. Smart fabrics are textiles that have embedded sensors to create exceptional products that help individuals not only monitor their health, but also stay in touch with technology. It is important to understand the types of sensors available (Lymberis, 2004). Sensors are devices that react and give responses to physical stimuli such as magnetic fields, noise, defined movement, light and heat and, in turn, send out a resultant impulse to measure or manage a control. There are three types of sensors: Extrinsic Fabry-Perot (EFPI), Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG), and Ling Period Grating Sensor (LPG). These sensors are embedded into the fabrics in many different ways such as weaving them with other fabric yarn also known as battery fabric, crimpling them into fabric and weave designing. The EFPI and FBG sensors have the best qualities as at now to embed in fabrics, to make smart materials (Nambisan, 2007). The EFPI sensor helps measure temperature,
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