Smart yarns and smart fabrics are getting smarter every day. The variety and combinations of smart fabric functions seem almost endless. We wrote about work at Darmouth College developing a smart fabric that can assist rehabilitation and training by sensing joint movement. Hexoskin contracted with the Canadian Space Agency to develop a product called Astroskin to measure an astronaut’s vital signs during a 6-month rotation on the International Space Station. Austin-based SKIIN Smart Garments incorporate hidden sensors that monitor vital signs, measure activity, interact with the IoT, anticipate illness, and more.

VOLT Wearable Tech, a division of specialty yarn and safety apparel innovator Supreme Corporation in Hickory, North Carolina, recently introduced VOLTech’s IoT/GPS System with Vital Sign Monitoring. The VOLTech system transmits the wearer’s location and vital signs wirelessly in real-time using smart threads with specific levels of conductivity, resistance, and strength. Impact Detection technology incorporated in the fabrics pairs with a VOLTech Skin Worn Body Patch that can read and access changes in vital signs. According to a Supreme Corporation release, the system can also predict critical health events by interacting with AI to signal emergency response personnel when the fabric detects health threats.

To connect all the dots, someone wearing the VOLTech smart fabric system could have clothing that monitors their health, assesses the severity of impacts or accidents, and reports the wearer’s location, current status, and relative need for urgent care. In addition to monitoring wearables for military, police, and firefighters, the technology could play a role in addressing aging-in-place issues and remote patient monitoring.