Intel is expanding its plans for the wearable Health Tech market. At the Code Conference this spring, the company showed a prototype shirt that — coupled with a small plug-in Edison-powered processing unit — can record and transmit heart rate and other data. The shirt is made possible by technology by AiQ of Taiwan.
AiQ has developed a way to make “smart” textiles by weaving fine stainless steel wires into the fabric. Stainless steel is less likely to corrode or tarnish, which can hamper its ability to conduct electricity. And it is simpler and more cost-effective than other approaches that coat fibers with conductive copper or silver. The result is a washable fabric with a natural feel, but that can support sensors and other electrical devices. The ability to build “wiring” right into fabric can help designers create new wearable products that can help with fitness, health, and medical applications.