Smart fabrics have been the object of a lot of research and development. They have the potential of incorporating sensors and other digital devices directly in garments, eliminating the need for separate devices that have to be strapped or stuck to the user’s body. For the most part, however, the development has focused on proof of concept exercises in the lab, creating one-off samples to test the feasibility of various designs and materials.
Last month, DuPont made an announcement that changed the game. The company announced new stretchable electronic inks and films for smart clothing. These materials also received a new brand: DuPont Intexar. The company describes it as “first-to-market” technology, and it makes it easy to incorporate sensors and conductors into fabric using standard clothing manufacturing processes. The materials are stretchable, and have been tested to withstand 100 washing cycles. Companies including Body Plus and OMsignal are already using Intexar materials in their smart garments.
With a materials industry giant like DuPont leading the charge with commercially available products, we can expect to see rapid and broad adoption of smart clothing, not just for the fitness market, but for remote monitoring of health and medical applications as well.